What is First Past the Post?

By Joe Young - Politics Editor

Image: Pulse Media

First Past the Post (FPTP) is a system of voting used for elections across the world. It’s the most simple there is – everybody casts their vote, and all of the votes are counted. At the end, the candidate(s) with the most votes are declared the winner.

It’s used in the UK to elect Members of Parliament, in America to elect Congressmen and Senators, and in Canada and India to elect Members of Parliament, amongst others.

Benefits of FPTP are the simplicity of the system, the fact that it doesn’t cost a lot to run, and the fact that it’s very easy to understand.

Issues with FPTP are the fact that it can produce incredibly disproportionate results (the Acerbo Law used to sweep the Fascists to power in WWII Italy would have given more proportional results than FPTP at the 1997 General Election), and the fact that it creates safe seats, leaving the concept of career politicians and scrutiny-free politics open to abuse.

Next time, we’ll be talking about Alternative Vote – we had a Referendum on it in the UK in 2011, but what actually is it? Check back then to find out!

About Joe Young 316 Articles
Joe Young has been involved with student media for a very long time now, holding posts within The Pulse, and Pulse Radio, as well as the predecessor of The Pulse, Pluto. He is currently Politics Editor of The Pulse, and Head of News of Pulse Radio. In 2016, he won the Media Award for Best Article for his coverage of the Fishergate Shopping Centre bomb scare.

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