Assess the Advantages of the Various Electoral Systems Essay

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Assess the advantages of the various electoral systems
One of the many electoral systems is the First-Past-The-Post system (FPTP), the current system for electing MPs to the House of Commons. There are 659 separate constituencies across the UK each electing one single Member of Parliament. In order to vote you simply put an ‘X’ next to the name of the candidate you support. The candidate who gets the most votes wins, regardless of whether he or she has more than 50% support. Once members have been individually elected, the party with the most seats in Parliament, regardless of whether or not it has a majority, normally becomes the next government. FPTP tends to lead to a two-party system where two major political parties dominate politics
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The process is repeated until one candidate gets an absolute majority. The alternative vote is not actually a proportional system, but a majoritarian system. An argument in favour of the AV system is that it prevents MPs being elected on a minority of the vote. In 1997 47.1% of British MPs were elected by less than 50% of the votes in their constituencies. In 1992, 40.1% of MPs were not supported by as many as 50% of their constituents. However, whilst it does ensure than the successful candidate is supported by a majority of his or her constituents, it does not give proportionality to parties or other bodies of opinion, in parliament. Research by Democratic Audit in 1997 showed that the results could actually be even more distorting than under First-Past-The-Post.
A fourth voting system is the Supplementary Vote system. With the supplementary vote, there are two columns on the ballot paper – one for the first choice and one for the second choice. Voters are not required to make a second choice if they do not wish to. Voters mark an ‘X’ in the first column for their first choice and a second ‘X’ in the second column for their other choice. Voters’ first preferences are counted and if one candidate gets 50% of the vote, then he or she is elected. If no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, the two highest scoring candidates are retained and the rest of the candidates are eliminated. The second preferences on the ballot papers of the