Could the election in Britain finally signal the end of the plurality voting method (what they call “first past the post”) - the 18th century voting method used by England, the US and a few other former British colonies lets winners win with a plurality rather than a majority. Under plurality rules, 25% or 35% of the vote is good enough to "win". No run off or ranking of voter preferences to determine what the actual large majority of voters in a district want. Its flawed math ignores the wishes of the broader electorate and creates a two-party monopoly where even the most viable and popular third parties, like England’s Liberal Democrats, get squeezed out.
The Lib-Dems have made reform a “non-negotiable” demand. The change they want is not “proportional voting” as reported in the New York Times. It’s a more modern and majoritarian voting method – that lets voters to rank their preferences, 1,2, 3.
Known as the single transferable vote or ranked choice voting, it does not guarantee a purer proportionality favored by some democracies. But it does mean the winner is a majority one with the broadest support in the district. It does allow more parties and candidates to compete without being “spoilers” or fracturing the vote. In the end, voters get to hear a more robust debate on issues and have more choices where the winner and overall result will be more a consensus choice.
It’s long time to bid cheerio to plurality “first-past-the-post” voting in England. Fine for 18th century. Not at all appropriate for democracy today in England or inhere the US and other former British colonies that still have it. (Not Australia or New Zealand, they graduated to more competitive and represented voting methods years ago).
The fate of voting in Britain is worth following. Change there could finally move the debate higher on the agenda of the US, mired like our English cousin in the zero sum dynamic of winner-take-all plurality rules.