Election Systems


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Election Systems

  1. 1. Election Systems
  2. 2. Election Systems  An election system determines how individual votes are counted.  Given the same votes, different election systems will give different results.  Election systems impact the party systems in place and the type of democracy in a country.
  3. 3. Elections in Canada First Past the Post
  4. 4. First Past the Post  The first past the post election system is used exclusively in Canada along with Britain and the USA.  Simply, in this system the candidate with the most votes wins.  No matter the number of candidates, the plurality is always the winner, NOT the person with the majority of votes.
  5. 5. Electoral Districts  Normally called Ridings, or Constituencies  Each is a geographic area with approximately the same number of electors
  6. 6. Electoral Districts
  7. 7. Electoral Districts  Each party runs a candidate in as many ridings as they wish to.  The candidate in each riding with the most votes wins the riding, and becomes the MP for that constituency.  The MP must represent both their constituents and the party when they take a seat in the House of Commons.
  8. 8. The Prime Minister  In the end, the party with the most seats (ridings won) becomes the government.  The leader of the winning party becomes Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister is also an MP somewhere. He must be elected in his riding.
  9. 9. Pro/Con First Past the Post  Tradition  Exaggerates the vote.  Simple  Popular vote and  Creates strong seats do not coincide. majority governments  Limited choice  Fewer parties with  Creates majority greater national governments appeal.
  10. 10. What’s the Problem? Popular Vote Seats Liberal 46% Liberal 72 Conservative 34% Conservative 24 NDP 15% NDP 7 Other 5% Other 0 Do the Liberals deserve a majority government?
  11. 11. Other Options Run-Off or Preferential Ballot
  12. 12. What is Run-Off/Preferential?  In a run-off, if no candidate wins 50%+1 of the votes, the bottom candidate is dropped, a second vote is held.  Candidates are dropped, and votes held until someone has 50%+1 of the vote.  Ensures the winner has a majority.  Used in party leader elections and in other countries (eg. France)
  13. 13.  Preferential ballots compress the run-off process into a single vote.  Voters rank candidates, instead of choosing a single candidate.  No majority = candidates dropped.  A dropped candidate’s votes are redistributed according it its ‘number 2s’.  Process continues until someone gets a majority.
  14. 14. Other Options Proportional Representation
  15. 15. What is it?  Proportional Representation (PR) comes in many different forms.  In its pure form, PR awards seats according to popular vote.  The percentage of popular vote equals the percentage of seats won for a party.  There are no constituencies. People vote by party alone and the parties chose the people.
  16. 16. Example Popular Vote Seats (FPTP) Seats (PR) Liberal 46% 72 47 Conservative 34% 24 35 NDP 15% 7 15 Other 5% 0 6  Under PR no party has a majority (unlike in FPTP)  The minor parties (Other) now have seats.
  17. 17. Affects of PR  Minority governments become the norm.  Smaller parties elect members.  More smaller, specialized parties exist.  Greater chance of government collapse.  More fractured politics, but also more cooperation between parties.  Fairer, more reflective results  Loss of the local MP, no person to call
  18. 18.  PR can take many forms:  Pureof list – eg. Israel  Mixed member – eg. Germany