The Importance Of The First Past The Voting System

1660 Words 7 Pages
First past the post is the oldest voting system in the world, and at first glance it seems simple, efficient and fair, with the candidate that gets the most votes winning. However, this is far from the truth. This archaic and exploitable system undermines citizens’ right to have their voice heard in government and breeds gridlocked and inefficient government. Citizens must realize that the outdated and unfair first past the post voting system must be replaced with a more proportionally representative system to allow all citizens to have their voices heard equally and protect the fundamental principles of democracy.
In a pure majoritarian system, first past the post specifically, every citizen is given a ballot where they mark one choice, all
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In both Scandinavia and New Zealand, a Single Transferable Vote system was adopted for national and many local elections. STV is a preference-based Proportional Representation system for positions which have more than one seat, such as legislative bodies. Under STV, voters list candidates based on preference and the first-choice votes for losing candidates are redistributed to produce a result that mirrors the actual preferences of the voting population. As opposed to an FPTP setup, STV “permits voters to signal strong preference for candidates of one group while still showing support for candidates if other groups” (Bowler 1). This would be especially invaluable in countries with strong political, ethnic, or religious divisions as this allows voters to show support for tolerable candidates, who they might prefer over a more extreme candidate, and create a more widely approved government. While it has not garnered the same international adoption that the multi-seat STV has, there is a system that allows for accurate election of officials to positions such as president. This system is known as Instant Runoff Voting. IRV is another preference-based voting system, however it is tailored to work with a one-seat position, functioning like FPTP if only two parties are present. A PR system is incredibly important for positions such as these as they are the most susceptible to minority rule. It is a major issue that “our legislators reflect only the biggest or strongest group of voters that elected them, leaving all others unrepresented” (FairVote np). This phenomenon results in a minority rule government, where the party in power were a first choice to a minority of the population. Through years of similar outcomes, minority rule through FPTP contributes to increases of voter apathy as voters may

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