Chapter 11 Lecture Notes

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University of British Columbia
Political Science
POLI 100
Christopher Erickson

CHAPTER 11 LECTURE NOTES ElectionsVoting is a mechanism for making collective decisionsIn democratic states it is a means for ensuring that majority preferences are reflected in electoral outcomesIn practice it is difficult to ascertain objective majorities especially when there are three or more candidates or policy optionsAs a result a range or electoral systems are currently in use and the choice of system can have a dramatic effect on the election THE VOTING PARADOXHow you count the vote has a huge influence on what the results areArrow impossibility theorem o Impossible to determine the most preferred candidate given 3 or more choices unless one gets more than 50 of the preferential vote SIMPLE PLURALITY firstpastthepostUsed by many states including the US and the UK for parliamentary and some other electionsIt has the merit of simplicitythe candidate with the most votes is the winnerIt tends to exaggerate the margin of victory for the winning partyDue to exaggeration of majority it can allow for decisive action on the part of the elected partyCan allow for strong oppositionDisadvantage to extreme partiesWasted vote problem o No chance of your candidate winningSpoiler problem o More candidates split the vote PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION PRAn alternative principle is Proportional RepresentationThe priority of such systems is the reflect as wide a range of opinions as possibleIt reduces the proportion of wasted votes and allows a greater chance of representation to small partiesIt tends to lead to coalition governments which represent a majority of voters
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