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Lecture

Electoral system


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL201Y1
Professor
Sophia Moreau

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February 7, 2011
ELECTORAL SYSTEMS AND REPRESENTATION
Voting maters because it lodges sovereignty in the people, if this happens 2
conditions are satisfied:
1. it legitimates governments,
Leaders, and legislation (unlike historically political elites claimed to
act as god) it legitimates system of governments and their decisions
2. Obligates citizens to abide by government laws and policies
citizenship includes both rights and responsibilities; the obligation to abide
by those decision of those leaders
decision is judged legitimate and democratic (direct)
the most common instance of direct democracy is a referendum, a piece
of policy submitted to public for rejection or approval
e.g. proposition 8 California (direct)
historically democracy came about bu enlarging the franchise,
initially limiting voters to male white property owners, as they were
only considered capable of
excluding along lines of class, gender and color
class exclusion was slowly abolished
race was the next thing to fall and after WWI gender was the last
marker as a boundary to citizenship fell.
Universal suffrage is a universally engrained principle of democracy
today
Important for both thin and thick conceptions of democracy
Types of Electoral systems:
Are never neutral
No system preclude the possibility that any one could win
www.notesolution.com

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The outcomes are based on institutionalized uncertainty
Each system makes one outcome more likely than another
It makes a difference in how they transform votes into seats
1. Majoritarian:
1993; 83/150 countries used majjoritarian form of elect.
They need to win 50% +1
Infact they are really plurality which means the most votes FPTP
even if they dont win a majority
Usually these systems are called winner takes all meaning the winner
walk into office everyone loses, no one gets any seats from other
parties
Plurality voting:
Single Member Districts e.g. a district sends one person to office
from their riding
Boundaries are drawn to equalize population geographically, so that
each member represents roughly the same amount off people.
This principle adheres to equal representation on the input side
Pros & cons:
FPTP over represents the winning party by creating a discrepancy b/w
the percentage of votes and seats that the party gets e.g. 50% of votes
get 100 seats. The seats do not represents seats won
Concentration of voters really matters
In Canada voting differs regionally
If party has spatially dispersed support they will do poorly, not
concentrated base of support, they dont do well in the FPTP, so they
will never win a majority
All you need to win a seat is more vote than your nearest opponent 35%
in your riding
www.notesolution.com
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