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Higher Modern Studies Question: ‘Single Transferable vote gives voters more choice and better representation than First Past the Post’ Electoral systems differ in the way they translate national votes into legislative seats. The result of an election depends in part on how people vote, but also in part on how the votes are counted. Majoritarian systems such as First Past the Post (FPTP) may produce an election result with a big difference between the share of the votes each party wins in the election, and the share of votes that each party has in the parliament. The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a form of proportional representation which uses preferential voting in multi-member constituencies. Each voter gets one vote, which can transfer from their first-preference to their second-preference, so if you’re preferred candidate has no chance of being elected or has enough votes already, your vote is transferred to another candidate in accordance with your instructions. One advantage of STV is that it gives voters more choice than any other system. This in turn puts most power in the hands of the voters, rather than the party heads, who under other systems can more easily determine who is elected. Under STV MPs' responsibilities lie more with the electorate than those above them in their party. A disadvantage that STV brings is in sparsely populated areas, such as the Scottish Highlands, STV could lead to massive constituencies. This was one of the reasons cited by the Arbuthnott Commission for not recommending STV for non-local Scottish elections. First Past the Post means that there is very little chance of extremist parties being elected to Parliament because they are unlikely to gain enough votes in any one constituency. Generally the results of elections using FPTP can be calculated quickly. When necessary, this makes the transfer of power from one party to...
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