Electoral Systems around the World

Electoral Systems around the World

There are many different electoral systems in use around the world.  Most countries have chosen an electoral system very different to the one used in national elections in the United States. 

Internationally, proportional representation is the most common type of electoral system with roughly 90 of 195 countries using it. An additional 34 countries mix proportionality and winner-take all. Sixty-four countries use winner-take-all, including 37 that use plurality, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. 

The organization Represent Women tracks the electoral systems of countries around the world through the lens of how it impacts women's representation. Click below to find an outline of which electoral systems are used around the world. 

Electoral Systems Around the World

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Electoral Systems Reform is Possible

The structure of elections and a nation's choice of electoral system can have profound implications for the effectiveness of democratic governance. It is no surprise, then, that reformers in many nations continuously strive to improve the way their governments are elected. Most countries regularly reflect on how well their systems are working and consider structural improvements--and such changes are implemented more often than many casual observers may realize. In recent decades, major changes in electoral systems have been adopted in New Zealand, France, Italy and Japan. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have adopted electoral systems vastly different from that in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the United Kingdom conducted a referendum on electoral reform in 2011, many Canadian provinces have voted on reform in the last decade, and the Canadian Parliament is currently considering electoral systems reform. (Matthew Shugart and Justin Reeves (2015) "Electoral System Reform in Advanced DemocraciesOxford Bibliographies)


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