Additional Member System (AMS)

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

  1. Used for the Northern Ireland Assembly, local government in Northern Ireland and Scotland
  2. Constituencies are multi-member
  3. Candidates are ranked in order of preference
  4. Candidates are elected if they receive a certain quota of votes, which is calculated as the total number of votes cast, divided by (number of seats available+1), then add 1
  5. Counting takes place in several rounds, the bottom candidate dropping out each time and votes for that candidate being transferred to second/third preferences
  6. This is a quota system

Example: 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly Election

__Source: __BBC News

Additional Member System (AMS), figure 1

Single Transferable Vote: Advantages

  1. Can be highly proportional
  2. Creates competition for candidates from the same party, so they can be judged on their own strengths
  3. Several representatives exist for people

Single Transferable Vote: Disadvantages

  1. Degree of proportionality can vary
  2. Single-party, strong government is very unlikely
  3. Could be divisive by creating competition between candidates from the same party

Party list

  1. Used in EU Parliament elections
  2. Voters vote for a party, not a candidate
  3. There are multimember constituencies
  4. Parties are allocated seats in proportion to the votes cast
  5. Seats are filled from the top of the party list downwards
  6. Closed list used in EU Parliament elections)- parties decide on who appears on the list and in what order. Open list- voters have some choice

Example: 2014 European Parliament Election (UK)

Source: BBC News

Additional Member System (AMS), figure 1

Party List: Advantages

  1. It is the most purely proportional system
  2. Electors identify with a whole region rather than just a constituency, so promotes unity
  3. Minority ethnic groups and women are more likely to become representatives if placed highly on the list

Party List: Disadvantages

  1. Small parties are more likely to do well, so leading to weak/unstable government
  2. Extremist parties get a foothold in representation
  3. Parties tend to decide who appears on the list and in what order, giving them too much influence
  4. The constituency link is weakened

Alternative vote (AV)

  1. Used for local government by-elections in Scotland
  2. Voters rank candidates in order of preference for a constituency
  3. First preferences are counted- if a candidate gets over 50%, they are elected
  4. If not, the bottom candidate drops out, and voters’ second choices are added on to the other candidates
  5. This process is repeated until a candidate reaches 50%
  6. This system was proposed for Westminster elections in a __2011 __referendum but was rejected by the public vote

Alternative Vote: Advantages

  1. Fewer wasted votes than in FPTP
  2. Winning candidates must win 50% of support, ensuring a broader range of views are considered

Alternative Vote: Disadvantages

  1. Outcome may be determined by the preferences of those who support extremist parties
  2. Winning candidates may be simply the ‘least unpopular’, if they win due to second, third (or lower) preferences

Additional Member System (AMS)

  1. This system is used for the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments
  2. Electors have two votes: one for a representative (for a constituency), one for a party (for a region)
  3. The winner for each constituency is the candidate with the most number of votes
  4. For the regional votes, divide the number of votes they got by the (number of constituencies won+1)
  5. Party with the highest number wins the seat
  6. For the rest of the seats, repeat this action but add any additional seats won
  7. This is a mixed system- partly pluralist (like FPTP) but partly proportional (where seats won reflects the percentage of votes in some way)

Example: 2011 Scottish Parliament Election

Source: BBC News

Additional Member System (AMS), figure 1Additional Member System: Advantages

  1. Balances constituency representation against electoral fairness (proportionality)
  2. Possibility of single-party, strong government remains
  3. Allows for more voter choice- they could vote for two different parties

Additional Member System: Disadvantages

  1. High levels of proportionality are unlikely
  2. Creates confusion by having two classes of representative
  3. Constituencies are larger, so representation may be less effective

Supplementary Vote (SV)

  1. Used for London mayoral elections
  2. Voters rank candidates in order of first and second choice
  3. First preferences are counted- if a candidate gets over 50%, they are elected
  4. If not, all candidates drop out except for the top two, then second choice votes are added on to see who wins
  5. More proportional than FPTP, but not significantly. Known as a majority system

__Supplementary Vote: __Advantages

  1. Easy to understand and use (perhaps easier than AV)
  2. Fewer votes wasted than in FPTP
  3. Encourages consensus campaigning, due to the focus on second preferences

Supplementary Vote: Disadvantages

  1. Does not ensure that the winner is supported by over 50% of voters, unlike in AV (as both voter’s choices may be for candidates that drop out)
  2. May encourage voters to support the main party candidate as their supplementary vote, rather than their preferred candidate