The Difference Between Plurality and Majority Voting

There are two main types of voting systems: plurality and majority. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two systems.

Plurality Voting

With plurality voting, the candidate who receives the most votes is elected. This system is often used in countries with a first-past-the-post system, where the candidate who gets the most votes, regardless of whether they receive a majority or not, is elected. Plurality voting can lead to candidates being elected with only a minority of the votes cast, as happened in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election.

This system can also lead to strategic voting, where people vote for a candidate who they think has the best chance of winning, rather than for their preferred candidate.

History of Plurality Voting

Plurality voting has been used in the United States since its founding. It is also used in Canada, the United Kingdom, India, and several other countries. The first-past-the-post system, which is used with plurality voting, originated in England in the 17th century.

Examples of Plurality Voting

There are many examples in history of plurality voting being used in countries with a first-past-the-post system. Recent examples include the U.S. Presidential Election in 2000, the Canadian Federal Election in 2011, and the United Kingdom General Election in 2015. The most well-known example of plurality voting is the U.S. Presidential Election of 1824, which was won by John Quincy Adams even though he received less than a majority of the votes cast.

Pros and Cons of Plurality Voting

The main advantage of plurality voting is that it is simple and easy to understand. The main disadvantage is that it can lead to candidates being elected with only a minority of the votes cast. Plurality voting can also lead to strategic voting, where people vote for a candidate who they think has the best chance of winning, rather than for their preferred candidate.

Majority Voting

With majority voting, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes in order to be elected. This system is used in elections where there are more than two candidates. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, then the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated, and the second choice votes for those who voted for the eliminated candidate are counted.

This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority of the votes. Majority voting is considered to be more fair and accurate than plurality voting, as it ensures that a candidate has the support of a majority of the voters.

History of Majority Voting

Majority voting has been used in the United States since its founding. It is also used in many other countries, including France, Spain, and Germany. The first use of majority voting in the United States was in the 1824 U.S. Presidential Election.

Examples of Majority Voting

There are many examples of majority voting being used in countries around the world. Recent examples include the French Presidential Election in 2017, the Spanish General Election in 2016, and the German Federal Election in 2017. The most well-known example of majority voting is the U.S. Presidential Election of 1876, which was won by Rutherford B. Hayes even though he received only a plurality of the votes cast.

Pros and Cons of Majority Voting

The main advantage of majority voting is that it ensures that a candidate has the support of a majority of the voters. The main disadvantage is that it can be more complex than other voting systems. With Majority Voting, there can be more than two candidates, and if no candidate has a majority of the votes, the process of elimination can be lengthy.

Conclusion

So, which system is better? There is no definitive answer as to which system is better. Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Plurality voting is simpler and easier to understand, while majority voting ensures that a candidate has the support of a majority of the voters. Ultimately, it is up to each individual voter to decide which system they prefer.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the difference between plurality and majority voting. Thanks for reading!

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