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First-Past-The-Post Voting

First-Past-The-Post Voting, more correctly known as Simple Majority voting, is the most popular voting system employed throughout the democratic world.

However, it is not used in elections to any Australian house of Parliament.

Simple Majority voting:

  • requires voters to place a tick or a cross against the name of the candidate they support. All such votes are counted as formal.
  • a winning candidate needs to secure a higher total of votes than any other candidate. This is also known as a plurality. There is no requirement to secure an absolute majority, merely a simple majority.

Advantages of Simple Majority Voting

  1. It is easy and quick to count.
  2. Informal voting is negligible.
  3. It promotes a two-party system, ensuring stability in the parliamentary process.
  4. Minor parties and independents can sometimes win against the major parties without needing to secure 50% of the vote.

Disadvantages of Simple Majority Voting

  1. A winning candidate may secure only a minority of the vote. The majority of voters may have supported someone else.
  2. Minor parties and candidates can find it difficult to win against the combined weight of major party candidates.
Malcolm Farnsworth
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