Assess the Criticisms of the Various Electoral Systems in the Uk

Topics: Voting system, Election, Proportional representation Pages: 4 (1568 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Assess the criticisms of the various electoral systems used in the UK

In the UK, we have been using the First Past The Post system as our electoral system since we became a democracy. Whilst this system works for us, there are many systems that we could use, these being: Closed Party List, AMS, STV and Supplementary Vote. All these have various strengths and weaknesses to them.

First Past the Post is the system we currently use in the UK, but whilst some may enjoy this system, there are limitations to this system. Perhaps the strongest criticism of the system is that it does not proportionally reflect the voting of the people. What is meant by this is that a party may receive less proportion of seats in the General Election than proportion of votes they received. An example of this is UKIP. UKIP received almost one million votes in the 2010 General Election, however received no seats. Many argue that for a party to receive just under 4% of the votes and to gain 0% of the seats is unfair. This criticism would appear to be justified, as it is quite easy to see that this party does not favour smaller parties to say the least. Another criticism is that there are many wasted votes when using this system. To revert back to the UKIP example, nearly one million votes were wasted on UKIP, who didn’t win a single seat, perhaps leading the voters to think that their votes are useless and have no effect. This could be the reason for the continually decreasing turnout at the general elections. Another reason for people not turning out to votes is the ‘safe seats’. It is estimated that there are around 500 ‘safe’ seats within the UK, meaning that the same party will always win a seat in those constituencies. Voters in this area resultantly are less likely to vote as they know their vote is unimportant and will not affect the overall outcome. Thus, we can see that if one is going to look at proportionality, FPTP is not fair.

However, there many advantages to FPTP,...
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