Single Member District and Proportional Representation Voting Methods
Democracies around the world use basically two types of voting systems to elect legislative representatives into the parliament or congress. These two methods of voting are Single Member District method and the Proportional Representation method. The paper compares the two types of voting method to settle on a preference based on the extent of democracy exhibited by each method.
Under the Single Member District, the electorate is divided into various geographical elective partitions called constituencies. The inhabitants of each constituency then elect one representative to the legislative assembly. Winners from each constituency are chosen by a simple majority that is, the person who garners most votes wins the seat (Bonds & Smith, 240). In a Proportional Representation system however, Bond and Smith (240) illustrates that the electorate is not divided up. They vote as a single constituency then legislative seats are apportioned to the contestant political parties according to the votes amassed in the election. The parties internally elect individuals who hold these seats apportioned to them. For instance if a country has 100 legislative seats, the party which wins 30% of the votes takes 30 seats, that which won 40% of total votes takes 40 seats and so forth.
The proportional representation method thus tends to cater for many parties as all parties in the political system find representation in the legislature. The Single Member District method however is a winner-take-all system which tends to favor only the two most popular political parties while hindering the growth of smaller parties (Bond & Smith, 240). With regards to this aspect, the proportional representative method can be seen to be more democratic than the Single Member District method.
A truly democratic state would apply the most equitable method while electing its leaders. The proportional representation method ensures equitable distribution of seats among parties. Furthermore the Single Member District method can be manipulated by increasing or reducing the number of constituencies in a party’s stronghold to achieve the desired number of legislative seats which is not possible with the proportional representative method. Thus personally I prefer the proportional representative method owing to its strengths.
Bond, John R., Smith Kevin B. Analyzing American Democracy: Politics and Political Science. Routledge Publishers. 2013. 240. Web. 20 April 2014.