The LSE’s simple guide to UK voting systems

The UK uses a wide range of voting systems to elect MPs; MEPs in the European Parliament; members of the devolved parliaments or assemblies in Scotland, Wales and London; councillors in local authorities; and the London Mayor, other city mayors and police commissioners in England. Here Patrick Dunleavy, Tony Travers, and Chris Gilson offer the definitive simple guide to all […]

Scottish local elections in 2012 show that voters have understood the STV system and are not put-off by it

Alistair Clark analyses the recent Scottish local government elections and makes the case for the single tranferable vote (STV) system. Contrary to the arguments drawn by its opponents, Clark finds the system does not lower turnout, nor does it lead to a greater rejection of ballots. While there is a correlation between an increased ballot position and votes received, this […]

Electing the House of Lords: the STV voting system fits the required criteria very well

Alan Renwick explores the proposals for reforming the House of Lords with a view to explaining the specific consequences of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system – arguing that it would be unlikely to bring the party domination seen in Australia.  The parliamentary select committee that has examined the government’s proposals for reform of the House of Lords published its report […]

In some elections, getting elected may be as simple as having a Brown next to a Blair on the same ballot sheet

Pairing Brown with Blair on a ballot paper might have been unthinkable for the Labour party, yet Michael Marsh, looking at the case of Ireland’s preference voting PR system, illustrates that the choices voters are faced with in the ballot box may play a stronger role in their choice of candidates than either their political knowledge or party loyalty and interest.

Depending on the result, the role of the devolved countries in the AV Referendum may raise some interesting constitutional questions

The roles of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the upcoming AV referendum have often been ignored by the debate. While these countries have experience with a variety of voting systems, recent polls suggest that voters in Scotland and Wales are moving to an anti-AV position. Alistair Clark examines voting in these devolved countries and finds that holding the referendum […]

AV elections are relatively uncomplicated and don’t need counting machines, but the electronic voting debate raises questions of how much we value electoral accuracy

As the hard-fought AV referendum draws to a close, James Heather reflects on both sides of the campaign. One of the most talked about points of difference is the alleged need for electronic counts under AV. While electronic counts are not used in Australia, and would not be needed here, it is still important to begin a wider debate on […]

Australian state elections show that if British voters adopt the Alternative Vote in the forthcoming referendum, it will typically change party outcomes only a little, but will have positive effects for the standing of MPs

Australia is the only advanced nation to use preferential forms of voting for national elections, especially the Alternative Vote. The leading Australian expert Antony Green explores the lessons from his country’s experience for how AV might operate in the UK, and demonstrates that we need to look at state-level elections there to find the most compelling parallels. They suggest that […]

STV in Scotland shows us that voters can adapt to preferential voting systems – but political parties may take longer to fully grasp the new system

In the run up to the AV referendum in May, there has been considerable debate and commentary from both campaigns on how AV would actually operate. In this light, it is worth considering the impact of the last large-scale electoral reform in the UK: the 2007 introduction of another preferential electoral system, the single transferable vote (STV) for local government […]