Elections in the UK

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Contents

Overview

There are several voting systems in force within the United Kingdom and its immediate possessions.

Within the United Kingdom elections come under the oversight of the Electoral Commission of the UK.

Voting Systems

First Past the Post

Single Transferable Vote

Additional Member System

Ensuring fair counting of the votes

The audit chain

Fraud in the UK

By-Elections

By-Elections are elections held to fill vacancies, particularly in seats in parliament. They take on particular significance in the United Kingdom because nationals elections are relatively rare (there is only a single type of national election, for parliamentary seats, in the United Kingdom and it need be held only once every five years). So By-Elections are viewed as providing a empirical gauge of how the ruling party's support is holding up among the people. Likewise, Council elections are viewed by political observers in the United Kingdom as an important bellwhether of the ruling party's likely strength in the next parliamentary election.

Since parliamentary elections are held at dates fixed by the government on an ad hoc basis, so long as they are held at least every five years, By-Elections and Council Elections are sometimes used to guide the Prime Minister in deciding when to hold an election. A strong showing by the ruling party may be used to justify holding elections early in order to solidify ruling party power, while a weak showing may encourage the government to delay holding elections to the extent possible in order to allow the ruling party to shore up their support before holding a parliamentary election.

Other matters

Referenda

No matter in the United Kindgom is legally required to be put to a national referrenda. However, in the interests of political legitimacy, the ruling Labor party has committed to having certain matters related to the relationship between the United Kindgom and the European Union resolved in a national Referendum.

Government at levels below the UK

Local and regional governments within the United Kingdom have less security of existence than most local governments in states in the United States. This is because they are strictly creatures of statute, whose existence and character may be modified by statute. For example, the Labor Party under the Prime Ministership of Tony Blair established strong regional government in Scotland and gave London, England and elected Mayor after a long period in which it did not have one. But, a subsequent parliament would have the power to dismantle these regional and local government institutions without a supermajority support in Parliament or a referrendum. Legally, local governments in the United Kingdom are closer in status to the local government in the District of Columbia in the United States, than subdivisions of federal governments.

National Parliaments

One of the particular oddities of the regional government system in the United Kingdom is that while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all have regional governments, called national parliaments and somewhat analogous to U.S. states or Canadian provinces, that provide some regional self-government, England does not. Thus, regional government issues in England are resolved directly by paraliment, despite the fact that parliament includes representatives from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales which have their own regional governments. However, the practical effect of this problem is modest because England is so much larger in population than other parts of the United Kingdom. This disparity is of particular concern to the Liberal Party in the United Kingdom, as it has a political base which is far stronger in England than in the rest of the country, so its chance at regional level power is diluted by the lack of an English regional government.

Councils

Directly Elected Mayors

Some Results

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