Other UK Electoral Systems

Other UK Electoral Systems

Proportional Representation (PR)

  • PR systems aim to translate national votes into seat share in government. Constituency Link tends to be weaker due to larger multi-seat constituencies.

  • Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a form of PR used in Northern Ireland and Scottish local elections. Voters rank candidates and votes get redistributed until all seats filled. Promotes pluralism but can be complex.

  • Closed-list System used in European Parliament elections (pre-Brexit). Parties provide a list of candidates and seats are filled based on party’s vote share.

  • Additional Member System (AMS) used in Scottish Parliament, Welsh and London Assemblies. Combines single-member constituencies via FPTP with additional seats allocated from party lists to create proportionality.

Alternative Vote (AV)

  • Used in Labour and Liberal Democrats leadership elections and Australian federal elections. Voters rank candidates, and votes get redistributed until one candidate reaches majority. Not proportional, but arguably ‘fairer’ than FPTP.

  • Promotes ‘greater plurality’ and ‘minority representation’, but can also lead to ‘centrist compromise’ candidates.

Supplementary Vote (SV)

  • Used in Mayoral elections across England, including London. Two preferences given - if no candidate gets over half based on first preference, all other candidates get eliminated and second preferences from eliminated candidates get distributed among remaining two.

  • SV addresses some critics of FPTP by allowing ‘second best’ option to win, but some argue still not representative enough.

Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV)

  • Used in Japan and Taiwan - voters have one non-transferable vote in a multi-member constituency. Fosters intra-party as well as inter-party competition.

Each of these models has pros and cons and is designed to meet certain political, historical, and cultural contexts.