Plurality voting

Plurality voting refers to electoral systems in which a candidate(s), who poll more than any other counterpart (that is, receive a plurality), are elected. In systems based on single-member districts, it elects just one member per district and may also be referred to as first-past-the-post (FPTP), single-member plurality (SMP/SMDP),[1] single-choice voting[citation needed] (an imprecise term as non-plurality voting systems may also use a single choice), simple plurality [citation needed] or relative majority (as opposed to an absolute majority, where more than half of votes is needed, this is called majority voting). A system which elects multiple winners elected at once with the plurality rule, such as one based on multi-seat districts, is referred to as plurality block voting.

Plurality voting is distinguished from majority voting, in which a winning candidate must receive an absolute majority of votes: more than half of all votes (more than all other candidates combined if each voter has one vote). Under plurality voting, the leading candidate, whether or not they have a majority of votes, is elected.[2] Not every winner-takes-all system (called majoritarian representation in the study of electoral systems, a term separate from majority voting) is plurality voting; for example, instant-runoff voting is a non-plurality winner-takes-all system.[3] Also, not every plurality voting method is majoritarian, for example limited voting or the single non-transferable vote use plurality rules, but are considered semi-proportional systems.

Plurality voting is still used to elect members of a legislative assembly or executive officers in only a handful of countries, mostly in the English speaking world, for historical reasons. It is used in most elections in the United States, the lower house (Lok Sabha) in India and elections to the British House of Commons and English local elections in the United Kingdom, and federal and provincial elections in Canada. An example for a "winner-take-all" plurality voting is system used at the state-level for election of most of the Electoral College in United States presidential elections. This system is called party block voting, also called the general ticket.

Proponents of electoral reform generally argue against plurality voting systems in favour of either other single winner systems (such as ranked-choice voting methods) or proportional representation (such as the single transferable vote or open list PR).

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