What is the electoral system?
State voting is a complex process that needs to be properly and effectively controlled. That is why the electoral system was created. What is the electoral system, what it is, its features, advantages and disadvantages - we'll talk about all this now.
The concept of the electoral system
The electoral system can be defined in a narrow and broad sense. In a narrow sense, the electoral system is the procedure for determining the voting results.
The electoral system and the electoral process are inextricably linked, if we consider the first of these two concepts in a broad sense. Thus, in a broad sense, an electoral system means a group of legal norms that regulate the procedure for granting electoral rights, conducting elections, and determining the results of voting. This group of norms of law constitutes the right to vote.
Most often, the electoral system is now understood in a narrow sense, the broad meaning of this concept is associated with the right to vote in the USSR. In the Constitution of the USSR in 1936a chapter on the electoral system was spelled out in the Basic Law, which referred to the regulation of the electoral law, the organization and procedure for holding elections.
Depending on various indicators, at the moment the following electoral systems can be distinguished: majority, proportional, mixed. All of them differ from each other in several ways: the size of the district, the number of votes, voting for a particular candidate, holding votes for mandates, etc. Consider the main types of electoral systems in order and highlight their features.
Typology of electoral systems
Majority electoral system
The name of the system comes from the French "majorite", which means "the majority".
What is a majority electoral system? It is a system in which elected bodies are formed through individual representation. The candidate who receives the most votes is considered the winner and elected. The majority system has the following varieties:
- The absolute majority system. With her, the winning candidate gains an absolute majority of votes - this is 50% of the total number of votes plus one.
- The system of relative majority.Here, the winning candidate does not need to get more than 50% of all votes; it is enough for him to get the number of votes that will be greater than that of any of his opponents.
- Qualified majority system - the winning candidate needs to get a predetermined number of votes, which is more than half.
Pros of the majority system:
- Gives a high chance to get into parliament to self-promoted and small parties.
- The activities of each member of any party are strictly regulated by the party’s charter as well as career considerations.
Cons of the majority system:
- A powerful party in parliament has a higher representation than the real number of voters supporting it.
- It is rather difficult for small parties to achieve great success in a single district.
- Under the majority system, the risk of voter bribery and jerrimending is high.
- Voters, fighting for the value of their votes, are forced to choose the most appropriate of the two political leaders, rather than cast a vote to the candidate they are more sympathetic to.
- Based on the foregoing, it can be concluded that the majority system inevitably leads to a two-party electoral system of the state.
Proportional election system
What is a proportional electoral system? It implies the formation of elected bodies through party representation. Under this system, seats are distributed according to the number of votes cast by parties. The more votes won by the party, the more mandates (seats) it receives.
How is the number of seats for each batch determined? There is an electoral quota for which the number of seats is calculated for each party. Also, the number of mandates is determined by dividing the total number of votes by the number of mandates in this constituency. As a result of the calculations, each party gets as many seats for its people as the set quota fits into the number of votes that the party collected. For this, the number of votes that the party won is divided by the quota. The result of the division is the number of places provided.
A big plus of the proportional electoral system is the consideration of various values and interests of different sectors of society.
The main disadvantage is the instability in the parliament, especially when many small parties have seats.
Mixed election system
In another way it is called a hybrid. What is a hybrid electoral system? If the party list of candidates includes majoritarian constituencies in which each candidate will run, then the party lists become open, and the proportional system becomes a hybrid one.
Simply put, a hybrid electoral system combines the characteristics of a majoritarian and proportional electoral system. The procedure for determining the deputies is carried out according to the same principles as in the majority system, and the procedure for nominating candidates is the same as in the proportional system.
Election systems in Russia and abroad
In Russia, the electoral system is complex. So, you can immediately identify 4 ways of organizing elections that were used and are applied in the Russian Federation:
- The absolute majority majority electoral system is the election of the President in two rounds.
- The majoritarian electoral system in the first round is the election of half of the deputies of the bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation.
- Hybrid electoral system - seats are divided between candidates and party lists in half in single-member districts.
- The proportional electoral system - elections to the State Duma.
Election systems in foreign countries are also diverse, all three are popular:
- The majority electoral system is the UK, Japan, USA, India, Canada.
- Proportional electoral system - Egypt, Turkey, Sweden.