First Past the Post electoral system

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A first-past-the-post (FPTP; sometimes FPP)[1] electoral system is one in which voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins.

First-past-the-post elections only require winning candidates to receive a plurality of the total number of votes. FPTP is a common feature of electoral systems with single-member electoral divisions, and is practised in close to one third of countries. Notable examples include the United States, the United Kingdom, as well as some of the latter's former colonies and protectorates, such as Canada or India.

Fist-past-the-post is often referred to with the following terms:

  • winner-take-all
  • plurality voting
  • relative majority
  • choose-one voting
  • single-member plurality (SMP).

The term "first past the post" refers to a now seldom-used analogy with horse racing, where the winner is the first to pass a particular point (in this case a plurality of votes), upon which all other runners automatically and completely lose ("winner take all").

Activism around FPTP[edit | edit source]

Much electoral activism has centered around providing alternatives to FPTP voting.

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
  1. The Department of Internal Affairs, Government of New Zealand. "More about FPP". dia.govt.nz. Retrieved 2019-02-17.