Democracy & voting systems


The single biggest challenge to democracy is the voting systems we use. There are many different types, FPTP, STV, proportional, the list goes on, the one most of the world uses, and most simple way to run things, is FPTP. Whoever gets the most votes wins. Simple, easy, and it works. Correct? Not really. Here is an election in a fictional country called the Republic of Land. The ballot is simple, put a cross next to the name and party who you vote for, and whoever gets the most votes wins. The results look like this:

Candidate 1: 19%

Candidate 2: 19%

Canidate 3: 30%

Candidate 4: 7%

Candidate 5: 17%

Candidate 3 wins the election, the most people voted for him, out of the population of 1,000, 300 people said yes to him, but 700 people said no to him. This is a hurdle some countries have looked at, Australia has switched its voting system in some areas. but that's really the only notable example. The UK had a vote to implement STV, though the Conservatives and Labour ran a negative campaign, because they were winning because of the broken system. STV is mostly a ranking system, for a simple explanation there are many videos online explaining it.

This is the single biggest challenge for democracy; and we need to rectify it.

Comments (4)

  • Tiff-Avatar.jpg Tiff @ Topical Talk
    27 Feb 2019

    Can you explain what STV is and what the good and bad things about it are?

    1. The-Morley-logo-250x250.jpg accomplished_horse | The Morley Academy | United Kingdom
      Tiff @ Topical Talk's comment 28 Feb 2019

      STV is also called the ranking system of voting. It is called this as you rank your candidates, you can rank as many or as little candidates as you like. For an example, in the fake country of the Republic of Land, you could fill you ballot paper out like this:
      1: 3
      2: 1
      3: 2
      This means your favourite candidate is candidate 2, your second favourite it candidate three, and your least favourite is candidate 1. If, say, candidate 1 gets an instant majority, they win. Though if no candidate gets a majority, then the candidate with the least votes has their votes divided to the other candidates, by who their second preference is. This keeps happening until one party gets a majority. This means that all people’s voices are heard, instead of FPTP having the majority of people having voted against the winner. This is still succeptable to gerrymandering, which is a downside; but this is only the case if you use representative democracy.

    2. The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg balanced_singer | The Ruth Gorse Academy | United Kingdom
      Tiff @ Topical Talk's comment 02 Mar 2019

      STV stands for single transferable vote. This means, you get a parliament where the strength of the parties is an equal to the strength of the support they give in the country, and MPs have a strong local link. When I first read this I didn't understand it much, so I delved deeper. A single transferable vote is when you rank the parties from your favorite to your least favorite to your favorite ( like what accomplished_horse has said ).
      Instead of one person representing everyone in a small area, STV allows bigger areas to elect a small team of representatives. This is a good thing because, it means that people won't be as angry with who is the real leader; however, smaller areas shouldn't do STV because there would be a large team of representatives and since it's a small area there would be a lot more commotion. In STV, voters don't have to worry about 'tactical' voting. This means that it would be a lot easier to vote for insignificant people who can't always decide on one option. Decisive people would find it harder but it wouldn't effect them as much, because they still get to decide on their favorite. There is evidence from Scotland and Ireland that suggests voters use it in quite sophisticated ways.
      I think that normal voting is a lot better than STV though, because the ranking process seems a bit complicated and the way they count the votes is also complicated. However, STV is fair for everyone.

      1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ Topical Talk
        balanced_singer's comment 04 Mar 2019

        Well done for explaining this in your own words!

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