First-past-the-post voting

In a first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP or FPP[1]); formally called single-member plurality voting (SMP) when used in single-member districts, or (informally) choose-one voting in contrast to ranked voting[2] or score voting[3]), voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins (even if the top candidate gets less than 50%, which can happen when there are more than two popular candidates). FPTP is a plurality voting method, and is primarily used in systems that use single-member electoral divisions. FPTP is used as the primary form of allocating seats for legislative elections in about a third of the world's countries, mostly in the English-speaking world. The phrase is a metaphor from British horse racing, where there is a post at the finish line[4] (though there is no specific percentage "finish line" required to win in this voting system, only being furthest ahead in the race).

A first-past-the-post ballot for a single-member district. The voter must mark one (and only one).

Many countries use FPTP alongside proportional representation in a non-compensatory parallel voting system. Others use it in compensatory mixed systems, such as part of mixed-member proportional representation or mixed single vote systems. In some countries that elect their legislatures by proportional representation, FPTP is used to elect their head of state.

Countries that primarily use a first-past-the-post voting system for national legislative elections

FPTP can be used for single-member electoral divisions; the candidate with the highest number (but not necessarily a majority) of votes is elected. The multiple-member version of plurality voting is when each voter casts (up to) the same number of votes as there are positions to be filled, and those elected are the highest-placed candidates; this system is called the multiple non-transferable vote (MNTV) and is also known as block voting. When voters have only a single vote each, but there are multiple seats to be filled, that system is called the single non-transferable vote (SNTV).

The multiple-round election (runoff voting) method most commonly uses the FPTP voting method in the second round. The first round, usually held according to SNTV rules, determines which candidates may progress to the second and final round.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article First-past-the-post voting, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.