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Electoral System Analysis

1323 words - 6 pages

In today’s world, there are three main forms of electoral systems. These main systems are the single-member plurality, proportional representation, and majority with run-offs.
In a single-member plurality, the person in an election who receives the most votes wins the position. This type of election is used in elections in the United Kingdom, some elections in the United States, as well as in Canada. One of the advantages of the single-member plurality is that it encourages a smaller party system. This serves as an advantage because it prevents the country from being run by a majority of parties who all have different interests and policy goals, which could potentially result in a ...view middle of the document...

An advantage of the proportional representation system is that it allows a variety of viewpoints and policy goals to be acknowledged through allowing many different parties to serve in various positions of government. Also, minorities tend to be better represented in a proportional government (Redling 1995, p. 18). However, in times of crisis this can prove to be very disadvantageous. If the country needs to act quickly but the members of the government cannot agree on what the best action would be, that puts the country in a vulnerable position for attack. An additional hindrance on the efficiency of the government would be the likelihood of a proportional representation electoral system to cause a coalition government to form. A coalition government is one that occurs when two or more political parties band together to attempt to form a majority in government. This could make a government more easily controlled by radical parties, as was the case with the Nazi Party in Germany (Stewart 2010, pp. 28-31).
A majority with run-offs is a type of election where if no candidate can receive the majority of the votes, then a second round of voting takes place. In the second round of elections, the person with the lowest number of votes in previous round is not on the ballot (Stewart 2010, pp. 28-31). This system can be an advantage because it ensures that a candidate that is supported by the majority of the citizens is elected, as opposed to someone being elected on a plurality, which could represent just 20% of the population. However, it can also be disadvantageous because it can lessen the effectiveness of a person’s first vote. For instance, the candidate that an individual voted for first can be seen as being of a lesser priority (Stewart 2010, pp. 28-31).
The criterion I have chosen that is important for electoral systems to meet is representativeness. By representativeness, I mean how well the government exemplifies the people, as well as the hopes and goals of the people. This is a direct result of the electoral system because the type of electoral system that a country has can determine if the people who get elected are representative of the country or not, based on the number of votes that each has received.
Based on this criterion, the type of electoral system that I have chosen is proportional representation. Proportional representation is the most representative in a variety of reasons. The single majority plurality election and majority run-off election can both be representative of the people, but to a limited degree. The single plurality election permits people to be elected even if they do not hold a majority of the vote. Therefore, the person who wins could hold a small percentage of votes and would still be expected to maintain and govern over a variety of people, the majority of which may not have wished for...

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