top of page

Unit-6 Electoral System Notes | BA Hons Semester 4 CCPA Notes

Introduction

  • Elections in Democracy

  • Essential Democratic Function: Elections are fundamental to democratic governance, providing a mechanism for citizens to choose their leaders and participate in the political process.

  • Expression of Popular Sovereignty: Through elections, the will of the people is expressed, forming the basis of legitimate political authority.

  • Political Participation: Elections serve as a form of political participation, allowing individuals to engage with the governance of their society.




  • Representation

  • Concept of Representation: Representation entails elected officials acting on behalf of constituents, representing their interests and views in the political decision-making process.

  • Evolution of Representation: Representation has evolved over time, from limited forms of suffrage based on property ownership or gender to universal adult franchise, where all adult citizens have the right to vote.



Methods of Representation

  • Definition and Evolution

  • Representation Defined: Representation is the act of speaking or acting on behalf of a group of people.

  • Historical Evolution: Representation has evolved from early forms where only a select group had a voice in governance to more inclusive systems that recognize the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process.

  • Theories of Representation

  • Trustee Model: Representatives act based on their own judgment and expertise, making decisions in the best interests of their constituents.

  • Delegate Model: Representatives mirror the views and preferences of their constituents, acting as a direct conduit for their interests.

  • Mandate Model: Representatives gain a mandate to govern through elections, with the expectation that they will fulfill the promises made during the campaign.

  • Microcosmic Model: Government is seen as a reflection of the diversity of society, with representatives chosen to mirror this diversity.



Elections and Their Functions

  • Purpose and Function

  • Formal Expression of Preferences: Elections allow citizens to formally express their preferences for political leaders and parties.

  • Competitive Struggle for Votes: Democracy is characterized by the competitive struggle for votes, where parties and candidates vie for public support.



  • Functions of Elections

  • Government Formation: Elections determine the composition of governments, either directly through the election of executives or indirectly through the selection of representatives in a parliamentary system.

  • Channeling Public Demands: Elections serve as a mechanism for channeling public demands and grievances to the government, providing a peaceful means for citizens to influence policy.

  • Ensuring Accountability: Elections provide a means for holding elected officials accountable for their actions and decisions, as they can be voted out of office if they fail to meet the expectations of the electorate.


Electoral Systems

  • Types of Electoral Systems

  • Majoritarian Systems: These systems, such as First Past the Post, are characterized by winner-takes-all outcomes where the candidate with the most votes wins.

  • Proportional Representation Systems: These systems aim to allocate seats in proportion to the votes received by each party, ensuring that the composition of the legislature reflects the overall preferences of the electorate.

  • Mixed-Member Proportional System: This system combines elements of both majoritarian and proportional representation, providing a balance between local representation and proportional outcomes.



  • Majoritarian Systems

  • Single-member Plurality System: In this system, voters select one candidate per constituency, and the candidate with the most votes wins the seat.

  • Second Ballot and Alternative Vote Systems: These systems require a candidate to receive an absolute majority of votes to win, ensuring that the winning candidate has broad support.

  • Proportional Representation Systems

  • Single-Transferable-Vote System: This system uses multi-member constituencies where voters rank candidates in order of preference, and seats are allocated based on a quota.

  • Party-List System: Parties present lists of candidates to voters, and seats are allocated to parties based on their share of the vote, with candidates elected from the list in order.

  • Mixed-Member Proportional System

  • Hybrid System: This system combines elements of both majoritarian and proportional representation, with some seats filled through single-member constituencies and others through party lists.

  • Balance of Representation: The system aims to provide a balance between local representation and proportional outcomes, ensuring that both are taken into account in the composition of the legislature.


 

Theories of Voting

  • Party-Identification Theory

  • Psychological Attachment: Voting behavior is influenced by individuals' psychological attachment to political parties, developed through socialization and experience.

  • Stability of Party Identification: Once formed, party identification tends to remain stable over time, shaping individuals' voting behavior.

  • Sociological Model

  • Social and Economic Factors: Voting behavior is influenced by individuals' social and economic positions within society, including factors such as class, gender, ethnicity, and religion.

  • Group Affiliation: People often vote based on their group affiliations, such as their social class or religious community, reflecting shared interests and values.



  • Rational-Choice Model

  • Utility Maximization: According to this model, voters make rational decisions based on their self-interest, choosing the candidate or party that best aligns with their preferences and objectives.

  • Assessment of Options: Voters assess the available policy options and select the one that offers the greatest benefit to them personally.

  • Dominant-Ideology Model

  • Role of Ideology: This model emphasizes the role of dominant ideologies in shaping individuals' political attitudes and behavior, influencing their perceptions of political issues and candidates.

  • Influence of Media and Education: Mass media and education play a significant role in shaping the dominant ideologies that influence voters' decisions.



Reasons for non-voting

  • Modernization and Social Change

  • Questioning of Traditional Systems: In advanced societies, increased access to information and education has led to questioning of traditional voting systems and institutions.

  • Changing Social Cleavages: Liberal reforms and societal advancements have reduced the significance of traditional social cleavages, leading to lower levels of political participation.



  • Disillusionment

  • Dissatisfaction with Political Parties: Widespread dissatisfaction with political parties and governments has led many individuals to abstain from voting, seeing little difference between the available options.

  • Perception of Ineffectiveness: In some cases, citizens perceive their votes as having little impact on political outcomes, leading to apathy and disengagement from the political process.


Women and Electoral Participation

  • Historical Context

  • Struggle for Suffrage: Women's suffrage movements fought for equal voting rights for women, leading to gradual enfranchisement in many countries.

  • Achievements and Challenges: Despite significant progress, women continue to face barriers to full political participation and representation.

  • Current Situation

  • Underrepresentation: Women remain underrepresented in elected offices and political decision-making bodies worldwide, highlighting the ongoing challenges to women's political empowerment.

  • Structural Barriers: Structural barriers, including gender bias and cultural norms, hinder women's access to political leadership positions, limiting their ability to influence political outcomes.

  • Strategies for Improvement

  • Gender Quotas: Many countries have adopted gender quotas to ensure a more equitable representation of women in political institutions, helping to overcome barriers to women's political participation.

  • Affirmative Action Policies: Affirmative action policies have been implemented to promote women's political participation and representation, aiming to create a more inclusive and representative political system.



Conclusion

  • Significance of Elections

  • Foundation of Democracy: Elections are the foundation of democratic governance, providing citizens with a voice in the political process and ensuring accountability of elected officials.

  • Mechanism for Representation: Through elections, citizens are able to choose representatives who will act on their behalf, ensuring that diverse voices are heard in the political decision-making process.

  • Variety of Electoral Systems

  • Diverse Models: Electoral systems vary widely, with different countries adopting systems that reflect their political philosophy and historical context.

  • Advantages and Disadvantages: Each electoral system has its own strengths and weaknesses, impacting the nature of representation and the functioning of democratic governance.

  • Importance of Representation

  • Ensuring Diverse Voices: Representation is essential for ensuring that diverse voices and interests are reflected in the political process, contributing to more inclusive and responsive governance.

  • Challenges and Opportunities: While challenges remain, efforts to promote gender equality and diversity in politics are essential for building more representative and democratic societies.



Recent Posts

See All

2 commentaires

Noté 0 étoile sur 5.
Pas encore de note

Ajouter une note
Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

very helpful content. u can just keep these points in mind and easliy can frame an answer

J'aime

Naman Dahiya
Naman Dahiya
a day ago
Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

Helpful content

J'aime
bottom of page