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Advantages Of Fptp Essay

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FREE First Past The Post Voting System Essay

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It is clear that the simple majority system has much to recommend it, however, since then there has been constant calls for electoral reform. It is equally clear that FPTP has its flaws.

Firstly it favours the major parties both labour and the conservatives have won a disproportionate amount of seats compared to their shares of votes. E.g. in the 2001 election, Labour won 412 seats which is 62.5% of the seats but only won 40.7% of the popular vote. Conversely if Labour were at an advantage in this election then some parties must have been disadvantaged. This is one of the largest criticisms of FPTP because smaller parties do not often win seats despite gaining a reasonable share of the vote. As in the 1997 election the protest/referendum party won 2.6% of the vote but no seats, whereas, under some PR systems this party would have received seats. It is not only small parties that suffer as Liberal Democrats in the 2001 election, won 18.3% of the vote and only 7.9% of the seats.

Since it favours the big parties it leaves little choice for the voters to vote e.g. in the 2001 elections many people did not vote as they were uninterested in the topics being discussed by the Conservatives such as the issue of Europe. Also as well as parties having widespread support they must also have regional support in order for them to win the majority of votes in a particular area and therefore gaining MP's elected. This means that bigger parties with larger regional support will benefit but smaller parties with widespread support across the country such as Liberal Democrats will be disadvantaged and loose out. Although they receive a lot of votes it is not enough in any constituency to get their candidate elected.

Too many votes are wasted in FPTP This perhaps explains falling turnout; wasted votes can sometimes come in the form of all votes cast for defeated candidates. Conservative votes in inner city Glasgow or Labour voters in the home co

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The concept of regionalism has caused many to attack other regions based on the argument that Central Canada maneuvers the rest of Canada both economically and politically "Canada. A Pluralist History " 2003. This sparks a notion of regional identity as opposed to a Canadian Identity I think that the idea of regionalism forces Canadians to focus on the differences that they have from other Canadians rather than looking towards their common traits. Canadians must not forget the culture that is present in each region as it ultimately affects their position on matters economical and political. Regionalism is basically a result of a geographic area changed into.

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Assess the advantages and disadvantages of both the current electoral system and proportional repres Essay

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This question asks us to evaluate our current electoral system, First Past The Post, which is a majoritarian approach and proportional representation, an aim not an electoral system. First past the post, based on single member constituencies, requires the winning candidate to gain a simple majority of votes in their constituency. Then the party with an absolute majority of seats forms a government in the House of Commons. First Past The Post is used in local, national and European elections in the United Kingdom.

Proportional Representation aims to equate the number of votes cast to the number of seats gained. Various systems attempt to satisfy this criteria such as the List system where candidates are placed on either an open (viewed by the public) or closed party list in multi member or national constituencies. The higher up the list the greater the chance of election. The Single Transferable Vote is based on multi-member constituencies where candidates are listed in order of preference. A candidate is elected once passed a threshold, then any surplus votes shared between the remaining candidates in proportion to the electorates second choices. If all places are not filled then the last candidate is eliminated and their second choice votes are shared, this is repeated until all places are filled. The Additional Member System links First Past The Post with the List system in various proportions to obtain the best, or worst, of both systems. Seats are allocated by two votes, the first, First Past The Post, then topped up with a List allocation from the electorates second vote. Only the List system can be called pure Proportional Representation and thresholds distort its true aims.

First Past The Post has its advocates, mainly the victorious Conservative party. Its exponents argue that the chief aim of government is effective management of the state and not as a microcosm of society, although European elections have, at present, very little power and local elections are grouped into wards of strong social and political bias thereby eroding the picture of distortion. First Past The Post's proportionality is mainly called into question in national elections. A valuable asset of First Past The Post is the link between an MP and their constituency. With a clear identity MP's can assist an individual constituents problems whatever their political stance. MP's may not reflect their whole constituencies views. Edmund Burke told his Bristol constituency "MP's are representatives not delegates". Ground swell opinion can be tested at by-elections where the public can air their views.

The advocarial politics of Parliament reflect the mood of the country and the dominant two party system. Everybody has a chance to form a government, supporters point to the Labour Party ho were once a minor party but now battle for power. The losers, usually Liberals only complain when they lose and Labour may yet jump the bandwagon after their forth electoral defeat. They await the outcome of the report by the Plant Committee. First Past The Post is also cheap to administer, some £10 million, and is easy to understand, giving a clear winning result in hours not days.

First Past The Post's opponents scream ". unfair. " for minority parties, 313 second places for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in the 1983 elections when it took 33,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP, 40,000 for a Labour MP but 339,000 for a Liberal MP. The two main parties can control power even, as in October 1974, when the governing party received less votes than the opposition. Parties with concentrated support benefit but this has also assisted minor parties like the SNP. First Past The Post may seem as a battle fought across the country but nearly 70% of seats are safe at general elections. Local

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Higher Modern Studies - STV vs FPTP essay (more representational) - The Student Room

Higher Modern Studies - STV vs FPTP essay (more representational)

STV provides proportional representation (PR) where by the percentage of votes is roughly translated into the percentage of seats. This is fairer than first past the post. For example in the general election 2010 in the constituency of Ayr, 47% voted labour but collectively 43% didn’t vote labour. This means that more voters wishes will be represented and less wasted votes

In addition it promotes voting within parties with the ranking system of voting. Instead of the traditional marking of an ‘X’ instead voters rank candidates in order of priority. On the one ballot paper there could be two Labour candidates and you rank them in order of your preference. For example in the ward of East Kilbride South in the upcoming council elections you would rank Archie Buchanan (SNP) 1st but then rank Douglas Edwards (SNP) 3rd due to his lack of presence within the constituency. [the only reason I have used this example is due to the fact I live in East kilbride, go find an example for your area as this will impress markers]

It also allows smaller/third parties to gain seats in the government due to the PR system of voting. For example the Green party saw an increase of 2.3% between 2003 and 2007 (introduction of STV). this is because more voters will vote for these parties where as probably wouldn't in the 'X' ranking of one party (they also saw an increase last week in the 2012 local elections too: went from 0 to 8 seats between 2003 and 2007 and then 6 more between 2007 and 2012)

However it has its disadvantages. One such disadvantage is that the ranking of candidates confuses voters and as a result in 2007 there were 100,000 wasted votes.

Another disadvantage is that, in theory, with AMS being a form of PR it should increase the representation of women. However this was not the case in 2007 as representation actually fell from 23% to 22% (2003 to 2007).

I have my NAB on the political unit for modern studies soon, and the essay will be something like the 2010 question
"The single transferable vote electoral system provides for better representation than first past the post"
How would you answer this? I was thinking mostly pros for STV then some cons and advantages of FPTP?

Last edited by Lucy_Mc; 23-03-2013 at 18:39.

(Original post by Lucy_Mc )
I have my NAB on the political unit for modern studies soon, and the essay will be something like the 2010 question
"The single transferable vote electoral system provides for better representation than first past the post"
How would you answer this? I was thinking mostly pros for STV then some cons and advantages of FPTP?

Yep, I'd start off discussing why STV provides better representation and take on a 'however..' approach where you then discuss some of the drawbacks of STV and any reasons why FPTP gives better representation. Then you'll need to weight it all up and conclude what gives better representation, basically.

This question was asked not long ago at all, check the posts above this.

Last edited by Ecosse_14; 25-03-2013 at 20:34.

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Updated: March 25, 2013

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First past the post system

First past the post system

First past the post (FPTP) voting, also known as single member district plurality (SMDP), is an electoral system in which voters cast a single vote for a candidate in a single district, with the winner being the candidate who gains more votes than any other candidate. FPTP is one of the oldest and simplest electoral systems and is common in countries which adopted the Westminster system of government.

Advantages of First Past the Post

Advocates of FPTP note that it often leads to the dominance of two large parties (this empirical observation is known as Duverger's Law ) and that a two party system has certain advantages:

  • It usually leads to a stable majority government .
  • Unpopular governments can be completed rejected by relatively small changes in voting behaviour.
  • It is difficult for extremist parties to gain significant representation in the legislature.
  • Those elected need to have regard to local issues in order to be reelected.
Disadvantages of First Past the Post

The most serious criticism of FPTP is that it often leads to disproportionate results, an extreme example of which was the 2001 election in British Columbia in which the Liberal Party gained 57% of the vote but won all but two of the 79 seats in the legislative assembly. As a consequence various types of proportional representation have become common in democracies. Critics claim other disadvantages of FPTP:

  • Voters in closely fought districts get more attention from the parties than those in 'safe seats'.
  • It is possible for a whole region to be completely unrepresented by a major party, for example the Conservative Party won no seats at all in Scotland in the 1997 United Kingdom General Election.
  • It is particularly vulnerable to certain types of tactical manipulation, such as compromising (when a voter thinks their preferred candidate has no chance of winning they may vote for a less preferred candidate so that their vote has a chance of affecting the outcome) and vote splitting (where two similar candidates share the votes that either would have got alone, allowing a less popular candidate to top the poll).
  • Smaller parties can only get representation if they concentrate their support in particular areas, so encouraging nationalist or separatist parties such as the Scottish National Party and Bloc Québécois .

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First past the post

What are its main advantages and disadvantages?

Aims of presentation
  • This presentation looks at
  • How the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system works

  • Advantages of FPTP

  • Criticisms of FPTP

    Different systems in UK

    There are FOUR voting systems in use in the UK at the moment.

    The First Past The Post (FPTP) is used for UK General Elections.

    The Additional Member System (AMS) is used for Scottish parliament elections.

    The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is used for Scottish Local authority elections.

    The Party List system is used for European parliament elections.

    The STV and Party List are both proportional representation systems. The AMS is a hybrid with a FTP element and a PR element.

    How FPTP works

    Voters vote within their parliamentary constituency (or ‘seat’.

    Voters have one vote.

    Voters vote by drawing an ’X’ next to the candidate of their choice.

    The candidate who wins the most votes wins the seat.

    How it works

    650 of these “mini” elections go on, one in each constituency (‘seats’)

    The party that wins the most seats gets “first past the post”, half of 650 seats, which wins it the General Electionand allows it to become the governing party.

    FPTP Advantage 1 mandate to govern

    Labour landslide 1997

    FPTP usually provides a decisive result and a Government with a clear mandate to deliver its election promises. This happened with Tony Blair’s clear victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005. At each of these elections, one party was returned to power with sufficient numbers of MPs to ensure that the Government had a ruling majority over the other parties.

    This governing party had a five year term to fulfil the pledges it made to the voters. If it did not deliver those promises, the Government had no-one else to blame – it had the majority in the House of Commons. Voters can judge the Government on the pledges it made - and kept.

    “The first past the post system does have some advantages. It gets things done without the long debates we see in countries that use proportional representation, such as Germany.”

    Julia Margo, Director of Research, Demos think tank

    FPTP creates marginal seats which attract all the attention of political parties and safe seats where voters’ views are rarely sought.

    Results are often unfair. Labour governed for five years, 2005-2010, after winning less than 36% of the vote.

    Also FPTP doesn’t always create majority Government. It didn’t in 2010!



    In the UK we are used to stable Government. By this we mean that General Elections or major changes in Government are few and far between. It may be dull, but it’s good for the economy and our quality of life. Business, especially global business, doesn’t like instability.

    It likes to know interest rates, currency rates, inflation rates and government policies over the long term. Governments that change frequently are, it is said, bad news for the economy.

    So, it is argued that stable government, even those elected by a slightly unfair result, is better than the unstable government a PR system could bring.

    Governments with large majorities, supported by the whip system, can dominate the House of Commons.

    Stable government is ok but what about bad government.

    Doesn’t all power corrupt and absolute power corrupt absolutely?

    Would the Iraq war have gone ahead had there been more opposition MPs or even a coalition government?


    Glasgow East by-election 2008

    FPTP also enables by elections to occur during the term of a Parliament.

    By-elections happen when an MP resigns or dies.

    By elections allow voters to express their dis-satisfaction with the Government of

    the day, if they choose. For example, by-elections to register protest e.g.

    Glasgow East 2008 in which the SNP won a previously “safe” Labour seat.

    PR systems such as the Single Transferable Vote (STV) also allow by-elections.


    Voters have just the one representative who is responsible for their constituency. Voters can get to know that person and make a good judgement on whether they should be re-elected as their MP. George Galloway is one of the UK’s better known MPs!

    “We should all know our MP, and if there is something not going right we can see them in their Friday surgeries or write to them until they do something.”

    Sue McGregor, broadcaster

    Have you presented your views to a local councillor or MP? (Hansard Society, 2009)

    How many of us really do get to know what our MP is like? How many of us do get in touch with our MP? And do voters not normally vote for the party, rather than the local candidate?

    THE 2011 fptp REFERENDUM

    In May 2011, voters took part in a referendum on whether the current FPTP system for general elections should be changed to the AV.

    It was chosen as a result of the coalition between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, the Lib Dems having failed to secure their preferred option – STV.

    The AV is a combination of FPTP & STV which does make a huge difference to the proportionality of the election. This is perhaps why was once described as a ‘miserable little compromise’ by Nick Clegg, of all people! 13,013,123 (67%) voted No to the AV, with 6,152, 607 voting YES.

    Yes to AV campaign

    No to AV campaign

  • Asses the Advantages of the First-Past-the-Post Electoral System 25 - Term Papers

    Asses the Advantages of the First-Past-the-Post Electoral System (25) Asses the Advantages of the First-Past-the-Post Electoral System (25)

    First past the post is a simple plurality electoral system. In order to secure victory in a constituency a candidate has to gain a minimum of a one vote advantage over the nearest rival. This system is not proportional which means that for every constituency there is only one MP representing them in Parliament. Even though the FPTP system has come under criticism, it remains as the electoral system used for Westminster and local government elections, and its advantages are the following.
    The FPTP system is very simple and easy to understand. The voters only have to write an “X” to indicate their choice. There is no need to rank candidates or to make more than one preference, in contrast to other more complicated systems where confusion arises. For example, there are a huge number of spoilt papers under various types of Proportional Representation as a result of voter confusion. In Scotland when STV was used there were thousands of spoilt ballot papers.
    However it could be argued that the advantage of ease is overrated as the electorate could be prepared enough to cope with another system as they do in other countries such as Germany or Switzerland.
    Speed is another lauded attribute of FPTP. We can get the results in constituencies just hours after the polls close and a verdict on who will secure the ability to govern alone before the next dawn breaks. By contrast other electoral systems can take days to calculate as votes are redistributed. In the Republic of Ireland it can take many days to discover who has the ability to form a government as recounts and redistributions continue under the STV. For example at the last Irish elections in 2011, Michael D. Higgins was proclaimed president 15 days after the elections.
    Nevertheless, it could be argued that even though speed is an advantage, fairness and accuracy are more important.
    On the other hand, with very exceptions the current system delivers clear results with one party being able to govern alone. The.

    Essay's Statistics

    First Past the Post Advantages and Disadvantages - Advantages and disadvantages table in A Level and IB Government - Politics

    First Past the Post Advantages and Disadvantages Advantages
    • Know who the government is straight after the election
    • Strong, stable, single-party governments
    • Can reflect the tide of popular opinion (reflects the countries desire to change direction)
    • Close relationships between MP and constituency
    • Easily Understood
    • Do not represent the views of the electorate as a whole
    • Not proportional
    • Harsh on smaller parties
    • Encourages under-representation of 'minority' groups

    This is not an evaluation, just facts:In 2011 there was a referendum which asked the British electorate if they would like to change from First Past the Post (FPTP) to Alternative Vote (AV). Of the 41% who actually turned up to vote 68% voted no and that they wanted to stick with FPTP. FPTP is used in Britain's general elections.