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Hello and welcome to today's citizenship lesson.

We are looking at a series of lessons about how others govern and today's lesson is all about how elections work in different countries.

I'm Mrs. Barry and I will be taking your lesson with you today.

Please make sure that you've turned off any apps or notifications, and then you're in a distraction-free zone to do our learning today, and make sure that you have got the right materials.

So you need something to write on such as an exercise book or some paper and a pen as well, or a pencil, something to write with.

When you're ready to begin the lesson, then we can make a start.

So we're going to look at a different range of countries when we look at how others govern and we're looking specifically at the elections in different countries.

So we're going to have a look at three different places.

We're going to start with elections in the United Kingdom.

We are going to move on to elections in the United States of America, and we're going to have a look at elections in Germany, and all three places do their elections differently with different systems, and it's those systems that we're looking at today and we'll do a range of activities to check your understanding and make sure you're secure on how elections work in a range of countries.

So what we're going to start with is looking at this image, and thinking about what it has to do with the elections in the United Kingdom.

So you've got some horses and their jockeys on a race course and I'm just going to give you about 10 seconds.

Have a think, and then I will talk it through with you.

So hopefully you got that quicker than 10 seconds and you've been sat there very patiently, but this links to the term, "First Past the Post" and it's the election system used in the United Kingdom.

It's one of, one in which voters vote for a candidate of their choice and the candidate who receives the most number of votes wins, and sometimes it's described as "winner takes all," but how it links to horse racing is where we look at the party with the most votes and they have to gain a majority and they essentially have to get past a post.

So they have to get a majority of seats within the House of Commons, through gaining representatives across different constituencies in the United Kingdom, and by gaining a majority, they get past that post, just like in a horse race, the horse and the jockey have to get past the post to be deemed the winner.

So let's have a look at how First Past the Post works in a little bit more detail.

We're just going to recap First Past the Post now, and we looked at this in another unit in citizenship, called "All to the Strength and Weaknesses of the UK Democratic System," and in lesson three of that unit, we covered First Past the Post in a bit more detail, so you could always go back and have a look if you feel like you need some more information on this later on.

So the U.


is divided up into 650 constituencies, and each constituency is a geographical area, and all the people in that area vote for a single representative who then contributes to the overall parties under the numbers, reaching that 650.

Multiple candidates stand in each constituency, so within each area, a person will represent different parties, or they might stand as an independent representative.

Not all parties have to be representative in an area, but there will usually be a range that you can choose from.

Every voter in the constituency gets one vote, and I should be really specific here.

Every eligible voter in the constituency gets one vote.

So not all people are eligible to vote and you do have to register to vote to be able to use that one vote All votes are counted within the constituency and the candidate with the most votes wins that constituency and becomes the MP for the constituency.

So one person is elected to represent that one area and they count toward the overall count within the 650 seats available in the House of Commons.

The winner gets a seat in Parliament and you might win a constituency with less than 50% support, and this can happen quite a lot.

So if you have four different people up for election for example, then the votes can be quite spread out.

Person A could have 40% of the votes, Person B, 20%, Person C, 20%, and Person D, 20%.

Person A still wins because they have the biggest solo percentage, but 60% of that constituency actually voted for B, C or D.

So just a quick example there of how you might win a constituency with less than 50% of the support And the party with the majority of seats in Parliament wins the election.

So I wonder if you can quickly have a look through these numbers and decide how many seats that would be.

So there's 650 seats available.

How many seats do you think would get a majority? A lot of people I ask often say 325, but that wouldn't let them past the post.

It would get them onto the post, so to speak.

So you need 326 seats to win a majority to be able to win an election.

So 326 is a really useful number to remember here.

Just to further recap and ensure we understand First Past the Post, we're going to have a look at this constituency case study and this is Sheffield Hallam during the 2019 general election.

And the table on the right there shows you that Olivia Blake, the Labour candidate, won the most votes in that constituency and was elected as the Member of Parliament for that constituency.

What I'd like you to do is Task One and you're going to study the table and answer the questions.

So the table is also available over on the worksheet if you wanted to go and have a look at it there, but hopefully it is clear here for you to see.

And there are three questions for you to complete: number one, Olivia Blake won a plurality rather than a majority of the votes.

Can you explain what that means? Number two, this result is referred to as a "three way split." What does that mean? And number three, is this result fair? Why or why not? Do remember to provide reasoning for your judgement there.

Try and use something specific from the table if you can, and then I've got a challenge for you: how could this voting system be improved to make it more democratic? It's worth noting that the UK is considered a democratic country but is there a way in this system that it could be more democratic? When you are ready, you can pause the video and have a go at Task One, using the table from the worksheet to help you.

And don't forget to click play when you are ready to look at some feedback to this task.

Well done for giving that task a go, and I'm just going to run you through some of the key points that you could have drawn out using the information from those questions that I gave you.

So, number one asked you about Olivia Blake winning her plurality rather than the majority of the votes.

What did that mean? So a plurality of votes, sometimes referred to as a relative majority, is where a candidate wins more votes than any other candidate in an election, but not a majority, so not more than 50% votes.

And in 2019 Sheffield Hallam, Olivia Blake won 34.

6% of the votes, so again, you're going to use specific information from the source that I gave you which was more than another candidate but was not a majority of votes.

Number two said that this result is referred to as a three way split, and what does that mean? So in Sheffield Hallam, three parties all received a high number of votes.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats were very close in first and second place, and the conservatives weren't far behind, with 25.

8% of the votes.

Constituencies where all three parties receive a similar number of votes is known as a three-way split.

So here, we needed to consider, well, do you think this is fair? Why or why not? And yes, it is considered a fair result, as the person with the most votes became the MP, and this seems like a sensible and reasonable outcome, but it is possible to argue the result is unfair as the winning candidate did not have a majority of votes and so most voters did not get what they wanted.

I did also ask you a challenge question of how could this voting system be improved to make it more democratic and to make it more democratic, voters could rank the candidates potentially, in terms of preferences and redistribute second and third preference votes until one candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, meaning that you might not get your top choice candidate but you've had a say on the other candidates and put them into an order that you would prefer them to be, hopefully meaning that everyone feels they have more of a say on the outcome than perhaps they feel they did in this circumstance, where the winner got less than 50% of the votes.

Let's have a look then at what might be considered the second part of First Past the Post, in the sense that all the members of parliament have been elected in their constituencies, and then those numbers of representatives are added up for the overall party winner to be calculated.

And Task Two is asking you to study the table and image, which is also available over on the worksheet and to answer the questions.

And again, this is based on the 2019 general election.

Question one says, which parties seem to benefit here from First Past the Post and question two, which parties are disadvantaged by First Past the Post? So using the information about how First Past the Post works, about pluralities and majorities, which party might benefit, and which parties are disadvantaged.

And you can see who the winners are with the percentage and number of seats that they've won, as well as the number of votes and compare those figures and how that might impact the overall winners.

So you can head over to the worksheet to get that information again but pause the video to complete this task.

When you're finished, press play, and we will continue with our lesson.

Well done for giving that a go.

And there's a bit of feedback here for you for those questions that I asked you for Task Two.

So which parties seem to benefit from First Past the Post? Bigger parties seem to benefit from First Past the Post, for example, the Conservatives and also, potentially the Labour Party, and there seems to be a winner's bonus, as the winning party receives a higher number of seats than actual votes.

Parties with votes concentrated in one geographical area, for example, in Scotland, you can see that the Scottish National Party do very well and benefit from First Past the Post and therefore, which parties are disadvantaged by First Past the Post? It's the opposite here, so smaller parties, such as the Liberal Democrats are disadvantaged by First Past the Post as their votes are spread out across the country and they tend to struggle to achieve a plurality of votes within each constituency.

It doesn't mean they don't have a large number of followers.

It's just they're more spread out geographically, and therefore they struggle to get seats in those different constituencies.

To further our understanding of First Past the Post, we need to evaluate it and consider its strengths and weaknesses.

So I'd like you to create two columns, which you can find on the worksheet to complete if you would like and add in different strengths and weaknesses of First Past the Post, and there's some ideas here to help start you off.

You need to put them in the right columns, and you may also be able to add to the different strengths and weaknesses of this election system.

So when you're ready, pause the video.

Give that task a good go, spending about five, 10 minutes on it, and then when you're ready, press play and we can look at some feedback and add some strengths and weaknesses to your columns.

Well done giving that a go and you can see on the screen now some feedback and some different bits and pieces I would put under strengths and weaknesses for First Past the Post.

So we'll start by just running through these strengths of First Past the Post.

So it leads to governments with strong majorities, because there is that point where you have to reach to be able to get your majority, extremist parties are unlikely to win seats, so meaning that smaller parties find it more difficult and extremist parties do tend to be smaller.

It's easy to understand one person, one vote, and so that is a simplistic system, and the main political parties have an incentive to create policies that appeal to a broad spectrum of voters.

There's no point in aiming all your policies at one small group.

They have to think about the whole country because of the geographical constituencies, and there's a strong link between Members of Parliament and their constituencies.

They have that representative within the area from that area.

Weaknesses of First Past the Post then includes: it leads to tactical voting.

So you might not vote for the person you want, but you would vote for a party you think has a chance of getting in, and that leads onto the second one here in that it's unfair on smaller parties, because they do tend to have less of a chance of gaining enough votes to get representatives in the different constituencies, and it can also lead to wasted votes.

A two party system, which is often how the United Kingdom system is described, means there is sometimes little policy difference between the two parties as they try to appeal to the widest possible spectrum of voters.

So sometimes people say that Conservatives and Labours do pretty much the same thing, under appealing to the same types of voters.

So there's very little to separate them out.

And then this last one, the winner's bonus for the winning party leads to very powerful governments and weak parliament, and sometimes they're referred to as an elected dictatorship.

So you have this group of people with a majority who can almost push anything they would like through in this system.

So, well done if you've got those additional ones and well done if you organised the different statements we had up earlier.

Now we're going to compare First Past the Post to two other voting systems around the world, which will further your understanding of how our system works in the United Kingdom, but also mean that you can evaluate its strengths and weaknesses more solidly, looking at how other places choose to do their elections and how their election systems work or don't work.

So we're going to look at the United States of America, which also uses First Past the Post, but has a system known as the Electoral College, and the other country we're looking at today is Germany, which uses a system known as Mixed Member Proportional Representation.

Our first place to look at as a comparison, really, to the United Kingdom is the United States of America and their presidential elections, and that's the first difference really, isn't it? That we have a prime minister in United Kingdom and in the United States of America they have a president.

So it's worth remembering and jotting that down as a note about difference, but we're looking here at the Electoral College and how the election system works.

So during presidential elections, each of the 50 states in the United States of America votes for one of the presidential candidates using a system of First Past the Post and this is a two party system and each state usually votes for either a Republican or a Democrat candidate, and they're often referred to as red States and blue States.

So Republicans are red and Democrats are blue.

The total tally of votes for each candidate across the country does not determine the winner.

It's a system called the Electoral College is used to decide the winner, so it's not a popular vote.

It's not the person with the biggest number of votes but it's this Electoral College that is used to decide the overall winner.

And each state is entitled to a certain number of electors depending on the size of the state and the numbers of members of Congress, and that includes both the Senate and the House of Representatives that the state has.

We'll have a look in more detail at this a little bit later.

So the winning presidential candidate needs to win 50% or more of the Electoral College votes, which in the United States of America is 270+ votes, and that would enable them to be elected president.

And this system means it is possible to win the popular vote but lose the election.

So Hillary Clinton in 2016 received more votes overall across the United States of America than Donald Trump, but did not win the Electoral College, and therefore did not become president.

In 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote and have since been inaugurated as President and Vice President.

So with this task, you're going to investigate this a bit further, and you need to go to the worksheet for this particular task to watch the video on how the United States of America presidential election works, and there are four questions I'd like you to answer which are also available on the worksheet next to the video for you, or just run through them now.

So firstly, what is a primary? Secondly, who chooses each party's Vice Presidential candidate? Third, do you think the Electoral College system is fair? Why or why not? And lastly, how could the system be reformed? So pause the video to complete this task, head over to the worksheet, watch the video, do the questions, write them all down, and then when you've done that, after about 10 minutes, I imagine, click play and we can continue with our lesson.

Well done for going over to the worksheet and giving that task a go, and here's some feedback for you just to make sure you've pulled out the right information from the video, the questions I gave you.

So firstly, I asked you what is a primary and a primary is the process by which each party chooses their candidate for president.

It involves registered supporters for each party voting for their preferred candidate.

Secondly, I asked you who chooses each party's Vice Presidential candidate and the presidential candidate for each party chooses their Vice President running mate.

For example, Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris in the 2020 presidential elections.

Thirdly, do you think the Electoral College system is fair? Why or why not? And you might have come to the conclusion that it is unfair as it is possible to win the popular vote by have the majority of people in the United States of America supporting you but lose the overall vote due to Electoral College votes.

And the other strengths and weaknesses are covered when we looked at to the strengths and weaknesses of First Past the Post and these apply here.

And lastly, I asked you how this system could be reformed and the Electoral College system could be abolished or reformed so that Electoral College votes were proportional to size of population in each state, which would have a bigger reflection or representation of the popular vote.

Well, we're going to have a look at the general elections in Germany as a further country to consider how elections are done and how election systems work in different ways.

So Germany uses a system called Mixed Member Proportional Representation, and it's a combination of First Past the Post and the Regional System.

In United Kingdom, it is used to elect the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, and the London Assembly.

So in an election for the Bundestag or German Parliament, German citizens have two votes, and the first vote is used to elect the voter's local Member of Parliament using the First Past the Post system, which again, you know about because we use in the United Kingdom general elections.

The second vote is for a party, not a candidate, and each party is an allocated a certain number of seats depending on the proportion of votes they receive, creating a proportional system of representation.

For the second vote, the candidates for each party are selected from a regional list of candidates provided by each party, and the candidates are placed in ranking order by the party and the candidates at the top of the list are allocated seats first.

The number of MPs they are allocated by the first vote is also taken into account when assigning numbers of seats from the second vote.

So what I'd like you to do with that information is to think about these two questions: firstly, the German Mixed Member Proportional Representation system tends to lead to coalition governments and coalitions are where two parties have to work together and join forces to create a big enough majority to run.

And what are the strengths and weaknesses of the coalition governments? You might know about or remember there was a coalition between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats recently in the United Kingdom, and so you could use that as a little bit of information to help you when thinking about that response.

You can create two columns there, one for strengths and one for weaknesses to complete that task.

And my second question, based on the information we've just gone through is if you were given a choice of First Past the Post or a proportional system such as the German system to elect our parliament, which system would you choose and why? So we've looked at First Past the Post and then, the German system is a proportional representation system.

Which one would you choose and why? So pause this, probably take you a good five, 10 minutes to respond to those two questions for Task Five and when you're ready, press play, and we can look at some feedback.

Well done for having a think and responding to those questions about the German Mixed Member Proportional Representation system.

I have outlined here strengths of coalition governments and weaknesses of coalition governments, as that's something that is a major issue when it comes to the German election system because it tends to lead to these coalitions.

So a strength of the coalition government is that the views of a wider spectrum of voters are represented, so more people essentially get their views heard because it's not just one party that has a say in how the country is run, but often it's more than one in a coalition.

Minority parties in a coalition act as a restraint on policies of main parties.

So where a main party may have a strong view on something, then the smaller minority party could influence what they did with regards to that policy, and this can be good or bad, depending on the policy in question.

It requires compromise and negotiation.

That means no one party becomes too powerful, so that can also mean that it's balanced and fair in terms of how the country is won.

However, weaknesses of coalition governments: due to the need for negotiation and compromise, sometimes you find very little gets done because two coalition, the coalition parties can't decide or agree on what should be done.

Coalition governments are often unstable because agreements can break down, leading to frequent elections, and this has happened previously in Israel.

Israel, for example, has had its fourth election in two years, last year in 2020, because of a breakdown in the relationship between the two coalition governments.

Main parties are sometimes beholden to the views of extreme fringe parties in order to maintain a coalition agreement, and so sometimes things are being put across within a country that not everyone agrees with and they're being held to ideals that are not part of what they want to do.

And in the future, people could see those parties who have gone against their word, if you like and disregard their ability to serve those who vote for them, and so the parties themselves come, become unappreciated or undervalued by their original voters because they don't feel that they stuck to what they said they would do.

The second question that I left you with for this task is if you were given a choice of First Past the Post or a proportional system to elect our parliament, which system would you choose and why? And this has been a big argument within the United Kingdom: is First Past the Post outdated? Should we move to a proportional representation system? And there is no right or wrong answer to this, and you can draw on any of the information we've covered in this lesson to weigh up whether First Past the Post or proportional representation is the better way to elect parliament.

So, so long as you have drawn upon the information from our lesson, evaluated it, and referenced some of the key points, then I'm sure you've given a good response to that question, but essentially you're weighing out two different systems, deciding which one works best, thinking about strengths and weaknesses of those systems and which one would be better to choose a secure and functional government to run a country.

Well done for working through that lesson with me today.

We've covered a lot of different things within the concept of how do elections work in different countries, and we covered these three countries looking at the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and elections in Germany, and we did a range of tasks, you did a range of tasks which hopefully helps you check your understanding and realise the differences between those election systems in the different countries, and from that, giving you a good understanding that there's not just one way you can elect a government, but lots of different ways, and all of them have positives and negatives and they can be weighed up and evaluated.

So well done for doing all that and for sticking with me through the different bits of information and hopefully you've done some lovely work as you've gone through, some nice charts about strengths and weaknesses and some comparisons between those different election systems. And if you'd like to share any of your work with Oak National, then you can do so by asking your parent or carer to add it onto Twitter, tagging at @OakNational and hashtag #LearnWithOak and there is one thing I need you to do to complete today's lesson, and that is to complete the exit quiz, and once you've done that, that's really well done.

I look forward to teaching another citizenship lesson to you soon.