What other voting systems are available?

There are lots of ways of choosing who should represent the people in parliament, councils and other groups, from random selection to very complex ballots. In the UK, we are used to First Past The Post, and so we tend to assume that’s all you’d ever need. But, there are a number of problems with FPTP, and many countries are moving to more modern methods of voting.

But which?

  • FPTP is what we’ve got;
  • STV (Single Transferable Vote) is preferred by many student organisations;
  • AV+ was recommended by the Jenkins report set up by the last Labour government;
  • AV is what we could have.

There’s a good rundown of the theory of voting systems on Wikipedia, and a Systems Guide from the Electoral Reform Society, but suffice it to say that there are the following major divisions:

  • Single-winner (constituencies)
    • Plurality (FPTP)
    • Preferential (including AV)
    • Candidate scoring
  • Multiple-winner
    • Proportional (including STV)
    • Semi-proportional (including AV+)
    • Block vote

Which system you pick depends on what is important to you in deciding elections.

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