The British Voting System

The British Voting SystemWithin Britain, different systems are employed to allow people to vote for mayors, devolved assemblies, members of the House of Commons, UK local authorities, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh National Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament.

These legal procedures which are referred to as electoral or voting systems, determine the regulations regarding the way in which candidates and political parties are elected. Thus, this form of voting enables eligible UK residents to elect the representatives that they would like to see in power.

A system known as “first-past-the-post” is employed during local English and Welsh elections, as well as for the selection of Members of Parliament who will sit in the House of Commons. According to this system, the local authority or United Kingdom is split up into a substantial number of voting regions. These are referred to as wards or constituencies.

At the time of a local or general election, anyone who goes to a polling station to vote has to make an (X) on their ballot paper next to the name of the candidate of their choice. When the polling stations close, the ballot papers are tallied up, and the nominee who has gained the highest number of votes is appointed as the representative.

A system that is known as the Supplementary Vote is, instead, employed for the election of mayors in Wales and England, as well as for the Mayor of London. With this procedure, those who vote are restricted to their first and second choices for mayor. Voters draw an (X) in two columns, one for their first choice and the other for their second choice. When the ballot papers are tallied up, if one nominee gains in excess of 50% of the votes for the first preference, then he or she will be declared winner of the election.

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