Many different voting systems are used around the world, and each one has different pros and cons, and different outcomes. Some result in tactical voting, meaning that voters choose to vote for someone who is not their idea candidate. Some systems are weighted in favour of larger parties and exclude minority parties.
The British ‘First Past the Post’ system is focused on single-member constituencies with one winning candidate taking l00% of the representation, and excluding all other candidates and those who vote for them. Since the two largest parties benefit from this, the results are often described as a ‘swing of the pendulum’ between traditionally left-leaning Labour and the traditionally right-leaning Conservative Party.
Proportional Representation (PR) ensures that the proportion of MPs in a parliament from a given party correctly reflect the proportion of people who voted for them. As you may have guessed, I am in favour of this.
There are many different methods that can be used to achieve PR. One common one is a party listing system in which voters simply vote for their preferred party, rather than a specific candidate, and the party leadership selects the order in which each member is awarded a seat. The trouble with this system is, first, that it removes the direct link between voters and the MP that represents them. Second, it places undue control with party leadership.
My preferred system is the Single Transferable Vote (STV). The ballot paper provides voters with preferential choices. In other words, voters may choose first, second and third choice candidates. Where their first choice candidate does not receive a seat, their second choice is counted, and where there are still not enough seats for their second choice, their third choice may be counted, etc. This way, almost every voter gets a representative in parliament whom they actually voted for.
This system may sound rather more complicated, but I can assure you that with modern technology, it could be instantaneous, although I believe that electronic/ computer tools should be checked independently by manual counting methods.
Pros and Cons to follow …STV keeps MPs linked to the people who coted for them, while Parliament reflects the views of voters and votes are not wasted.