Electoral Reform

The electoral reform debate in the UK has intensified since the mid 1970??™s. An electoral reform is a change in the rules governing elections, usually involving the replacement of one electoral system by another; in the UK the tern is invariably associated with the reform of ???first past the post??™ and the adoption of a proportional representation system.

Growing sympathy towards electoral reform within the Labour party was evident in two ways. First, Labour agreed that each of the developed and other bodies that the party planned to introduce it if it was returned to power would have a proportional representation voting system. Second, Labour committed itself to the establishment on the Westminster voting system.

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The electoral reform has many advantages such as electoral fairness. All of the following reasons are for the electoral reform, electoral fairness dictates that a party??™s strength in parliament should reflect its level of support in the country. In proportional representation all peoples votes have the same value and it doesn??™t matter about the country they support. Every single vote counts so that nine if them are wasted so that they are cast for candidates or parties who lose the election. Governments elected under proportional representation will enjoy the support of at least 50 percent of those who vote. Proportional representation has implications for the relationship between the executive and parliament. Proportional representation systems distribute power more widely as more parties are involved. Decision-making becomes quicker and easier and also more effective.

There are also reasons against electoral reform such as clear electoral choice. First past the post aids democracy because it clarifies the choices available to votes. It offers voters a clear and simple choice between potential parties of government, each committed to a different policy. First past the post also established a strong and reliable link between a representative and his or her constituency. In first past the post voters get what they vote for and winning parties have the ability to carry out their manifesto promises. First past the post also ensures that governments can govern. Coalition governments are wear and fairly ineffective because they have to seek legislative support by two or more parties. Single party governments are stable and cohesive and so are generally more able to survive for a full term in office. This is because the government is united by ideological loyalties whilst coalition governments are often wek and unstable.

The electoral systems are usually fairly different in each country. The UK uses the Regional Party List which includes the European Parliament except Northern Ireland. It has a number of large multimember consistencies. for European Parliament elections, the UK is divided into 12 regions each returning 3-10 members which in total, is 72. Political parties compile lists of candidates to place before the electorate, in descending order of preference. The electorate votes for parties based of their policies, not candidates therefore, the UK uses ???closed list??™ elections. Parties are allocated seats in direct proportion to the votes they gain in each regional constituency so the more votes gained, the more seats they win. They fill these seats from their party list.

The USA has different elections for the presidency and the congress. The president and the vice president are elected every 4 years on a single ticket. Senators are re-elected every 6 years on a ???rolling system??™ and a third of them are re-elected every 2 years. Primary elections or internal party elections and party meetings play a major role in selecting the electoral candidates. Electoral turnout is however very low with often 50 percent voting in presidential elections. Only 75 percent of adult Americans are registered voters and the electoral choice is narrow. Non-voting is also closely related to income and a low turnout of ethnic and racial minorities. The USA has experienced a process of partisan dealignment with a fall in the number of strong party identifiers and the rise in independents.

Germany also has a very different election system. Elections are held every 4 years on all levels. As a result of staggered elections at land, federal and local levels electoral campaigns are almost always underway. All elections are held on the same Sunday however, from 90 percent turnout in the 1980??™s, the lowest turnout ever recorded was in 1990 since 1949 (the first election) meaning interest has gone down in politics. If a party in Germany wins 15 percent of the votes they earn 15 percent of the seats in the Bundestag. Electoral law states that a party also has to have a minimum of 5 percent or 3 constituency seats already in order to get some form of representation. There are also no primary elections where people can vote for a party representative, which makes them a coalition government.

Each voting system is better at achieving different things are they are all good for the country they are used in. The electoral reform debate about the desirable nature of the government and the principles that are based on a ???good??™ government meaning the debate is used in a way to get the best out of the government and show them the advantages and the disadvantages of the electoral reform and that all voting systems should be about what is best for the country.