Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Ranked Choice Electoral Reform Single Transferable Voting versus Block Plurality in United Kingdom Council Elections
Authors: Morris, Connor
Advisors: McCarty, Nolan
Department: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Class Year: 2024
Abstract: This thesis investigates the drawbacks and mild improvements of ranked choice voting to date in the United States, and conducts a case study comparing single transferable voting in Scotland to block plurality voting in England at the council level. It first takes a broad approach to evaluating electoral reform options for the United States, considering ranked choice voting in comparison to alternative electoral methods and reforms. I investigate the record of ranked choice voting in practice and find that concerns around voter error and group-based disparities are manageable, but that improvements to candidate emergence, moderation, and more proportional representation have been underwhelming. Consequently, I consider a more powerful extension of single-winner ranked choice voting: multi-winner single transferable voting. Through interviews of councilors in Scotland and England, I investigate how their electoral systems influenced their campaigning, their relationships with constituents, their cross-party collaboration, their full council dynamics, and their perspectives on single versus multi-winner districts, in order to weigh the two systems and to lay out the factors that policymakers should weigh when considering single transferable voting. The case study of the United Kingdom councils makes the benefits of STV over block plurality clear: greater proportionality, candidate-driven outcomes, and cross-party voter outreach and elected official collaboration. It also poses drawbacks of proportionality to consider: potentially weak and unpredictable coalitions, and disproportionate power to smaller parties when they hold the keys to a majority.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2024

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
MORRIS-CONNOR-THESIS.pdf488.35 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.