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!