Interpreting the Perfect Electoral System

Topics: Elections, Proportional representation, Election Pages: 6 (2195 words) Published: December 16, 2013
'There is no such thing as a perfect electoral system'

The idea of perfection is interpreted differently amongst everybody in the UK. The word 'Perfect' is defined as having all the necessary or typical characteristics required for a given situation. So everybody will have different thoughts on what really is a perfect electoral system. Generally, a perfect electoral system is one which has the qualities of being simple, gives a varied choice to the electorate, is fair and proportional, gives a clear outcome and is microcosmic, it represents the people more. Firstly, it could be argued that the more proportional electoral systems are the closest to a 'perfect' electoral system because they show what/who the people of the UK really voted for. One proportional system is the Single Transferrable Vote. This system operates by representatives being elected in large multi-member constituencies, the voting is preferential and also known as 'Voting Ordinal' where the voters can vote as many times as they want. The candidates much receive a quota known as a droop quota to actually become elected and if they reach this quota any excess votes are redistributed on the basis of 2nd preferences. The calculation used to work out the quota is (total valid poll/(seats+1))+1, which some people argue is too complicated for any elections in the UK, if no candidate reaches the quota then the lowest places candidate is eliminated and the second preferences of the people that voted for them are redistributed. This system is used successfully in many UK elections, it's used in Northern Ireland for elections such as in the Assembly, for local government elections and EU parliament elections. The Republic of Ireland and Scotland both use it for Local Elections. However there are both many advantages and disadvantages of using this electoral system. Firstly it delivers proportional outcomes and it also ensures that votes are largely of equal values. In addition, the threshold is quite high. A party or group of parties have to win over 50% of the popular vote to form a government, this is an advantage because the winning party reflects the majority of the populations wishes. On the other hand, the process Single Transferrable vote uses large multi-member constituencies, this weakens the link between individual MPs and their constituencies, so some people may not feel as involved as they could be throughout the electoral process. Also, STV is less accurate in translating votes into seats than other electoral systems such as list systems or some versions of additional member systems. In addition, if a coalition was to be formed under the STV electoral system, it can be argued that the government produced could be unstable and give a disproportional influence to minor parties that hold the balance of power. Never the less, the voters can choose between a large range of candidates including different candidates of the same party, this allows the public to really vote what they feel most strongly for because of the large range of available candidates. Secondly, the electoral system Regional List is another proportional system. Again using this system, representatives are elected in large multi-member constituencies, however the political parties draw up a list of candidates in order in which they'll be elected, the electors cast one single vote for a party or independent candidate and they cannot chose between candidates representing the same political party. The parties have greater control over the electoral process as they can put their favourite candidates at the top of the list. As it is a proportional system, the seats are allocated according to the proportion of votes won by each political party. Regional list is another successful system which is used for elections to European Parliament in England, Scotland and Wales, the last European election was in 2009 where the amount of seats won were 72, the overall turnout was 15,625,823 and the...
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