Two-round Voting System

Given, the chaos that we have seen in the UK during then Brexit crisis, there are good reasons to look at different voting methods around the world. Having experienced the system used in presidential and some national elections in France, which also is used at times in some other countries, it may be useful to suggest how that might be applied in the UK and what would be the advantages and disadvantages. In particular, it is worth looking at the system of two rounds.

There are two types of system.  The first is where the first round is used to eliminate all but the two best scores, unless one gains over 50% in the first round. Then two weeks later there is a run-off between the two candidates. The second method is where a bar is fixed – usually 12.5% in the French system – below which any candidate is eliminated. Let us look at et the first system and examine the obvious advantages.:

  1. We are sure that anyone elected is elected by a majority of voters i.e. 50% + 1vote
  2. The two round system allows the electorate to express its preferred choice in the first round and vote definitively in the second
  3. The period of reflection of 2 weeks in the French case allows for alliances to be formed and policies to be refined or changed and for electors to consider and discuss their choices.

There is only one obvious disadvantage: the system requires electors to vote twice.

If we now apply the system to the recent Peterborough byelection, on the assumption that people would have voted the same way in the first round, we see that the final result might have been very different. As of today, under the 50% + 1 system everyone would have been eliminated except Labour and the Brexit party. Under the 12.5% barrier system the second there would be a three-way run-off between the Brexit Party, Labour and the Conservatives, the LibDems missing out by 81 votes.

So, one can try to speculate on how people would have voted if the choice was between Labour and Brexit, in the first system, or between these two and the Conservatives in the second system. What we see in France, however, is that the second-round turnout can also change dramatically. So, for example, faced with the prospect of voters trying to stop Labour winning, we might see the turnout, which was under 50% increase to 75%! Similarly, in order to ensure that the Brexit Party did not win we might see reluctant voters coming out, holding their noses and voting for Labour. What is important is also how the LibDems would advise their voters to vote after their elimination. I would suggest that Vince Cable would encourage them to vote Labour in the second round so as to rule out a hard Brexit. Now, if you reflect upon this, it is much more likely that the extremists would be eliminated.

If you coupled this system with voting on Sunday rather than Thursday, the two-round system could well involve a larger proportion of the population in the voting process.

Candidate Description (if any) Number of votes
BRISTOW Paul The Conservative Party 7243
FORBES Lisa Labour Party 10484
GOLDSPINK English Democrats 153
GREENE Mike The Brexit Party 9801
HOPE Howling The Official Monster Raving 112
KIRK Pierre Ed UK European Union Party 25
MOORE Andrew   101
O` FLYNN Patri SDP Fighting for Brexit 135
RODGERS Dick Common Good: Remain 60
ROGERS Tom Christian Peoples Alliance 162
SELLICK Beki Liberal Democrats 4159
SMITH Bobby   5
WARD Peter Mark Renew 45
WELLS Joseph Green Party 1035
WHITBY John UK Independence Party 400
Total 33920
12,50% 4240

Author: Danny Barrs

Proud to be European, Prison Poet, Humanist, Moderate Vegan, Republican in the UK sense. Music Lover: Schoenberg, Mahler, Boulez, Shostakovich amongst many others Fair weather cyclist, speed walker, amateur mathematician

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