First-Past-the-Post Voting

This explains elections with Plurality / First Past the Post voting (FPTP), which this project proposes to upgrade to Ranked Pairs. While FPTP is simple and easy to do, when there are more than two candidates it is prone to significant problems:

© CGP Grey, Youtube
© James Hamblin, Youtube
© CGP Grey, Youtube
  1. Single round of voting: Each Voter marks a single candidate on a single ballot.
  2. Single round of counting: The ballots are tallied, allocating votes to candidates based on their single/first-preference choice.
  3. Simple outcome: The candidate who receives the most votes – wins.
  4. It’s Easy to understand, easy to do, easy to count.

Issues

Two CandidatesThree or More Candidates
  • Works well.
  • Chooses the candidate who is preferred by the majority.
  • Tends no longer to render the decision of the majority, but of the largest minority of voters.
  • If their true first preference is not a “likely” contender, voters will tend to shift their vote to one of the presumed contenders (Duverger’s law); press and opinion polls have an enhanced effect.
  • Hard for smaller, or newer parties, or independents to make headway; discourages competition.
  • Spoiler Effect: A candidate seen as similar to another candidate will reduce support from the similar candidate – a candidate who might have won can lose as a consequence of a “similar” candidate entering the competition.
  • Outcome not necessarily most preferred by the majority of voters, and can, in fact, be least preferred. This is NOT a Condorcet method.
  • Candidates/Parties need only to appeal-to and be accountable-to a small “base”of supporters.

Next: Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV)

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