The paper “ Electoral Reform in the United Kingdom” is a fascinating example of an annotated bibliography on politics. Elections in the UK are held on the First Past the Posting (FPTP) Voting System that has been riddled by electoral malpractices. Gay Oonagh states that the system fails to ensure adequate representation in the House of Commons as its traditional purpose was to partially represent the interests of their locals and provide judgment on day-to-day issues (Gay 1998, p7). According to the Jenkins Report, the emergence of multiple political parties has necessitated electoral reforms in the UK to adopt alternative electoral systems to support functional representation that is based on opinion hence the formation of a government that represents the opinion of the majority. This report was commissioned by the Labour Government to study the recommendations provided for by the Independent Commission on the Voting System and provide additional insight on alternative recommendations on electoral systems.
Lord Jenkins recommended the adoption of a two-vote system where 85 percent of the House’ s representation would be elected from the constituency and the remaining seats will be filled on a top-up basis (Gay 1998, p21).
From the report, it is possible to learn about the various alternative electoral systems and their suitability as well as the factors necessitating electoral reforms. Wilks-Heeg, Stuart 2008. The purity of Elections in the UK-Causes for Concern. Retrieved from http: //www. jrrt. org. uk/uploads/Purity%20of%20Elections%20in%20the%20UK. pdfDr. Stuart in this report seeks to inform the reader on the integrity of the UK elections and underlying issues that call for electoral reforms. The author focuses on the 1997 General Election that handed the Labour Party a landslide victory that highlighted the non-proportionality of the FPTP voting system (Wilks-Hegg 2008, p21).
Notably, the 1997 election was the most expensive in the post-war UK with electoral expenditures totaling to over 80million pounds for the three major parties. This article provides an insight into the sources of funding for political parties and the expenditures incurred during electoral campaigns as well as the evolution of electoral malpractices. Two major parliamentary Acts were enacted in 2000 in response to the electoral malpractices and issues facing the electoral process. The Representation of the People Act (2000) and Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 sought to implement proposed changes to the electoral process as well as the funding of political parties as well as their campaigns (Wilks-Hegg 2008, p15).
The PPERA Act complemented the Jenkins Report that recommended the constitution of an independent Electoral Commission to oversee, review and evaluate the electoral process (Wilks-Hegg 2008, p28). The author notes that although the electoral process in the UK largely meets international standards, the process falls short in three major areas namely; ballot tracing, reducing numbers of registered voters and democratic rights denied to prisoners, the disabled and elderly persons (Wilks-Hegg 2008, p21).
This report enhances the reader’ s understanding of the UK electoral law by highlighting its essentials and its adherence to international standards.
British Library 2010. Fair Votes of Firm Government? Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpsubject/socsci/topbib/elecreform/sct-electoral- reform.pdf
Dept. For Communities & Local Govt. 2006. Implementing Electronic Voting in the UK. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/156330.pdf
Dunleavy, Patrick & Margetts, Helen 2005. The Impact of the UK’s Electoral Sys. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3083/1/The_impact_of_UK_electoral_systems_(L SERO)_.pdf
Gay, Oonagh (1998). Voting Systems: The Jenkins Report. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp98/rp98-112.pdf
Graham, James 2010. Who Will Fight for Electoral Reform. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/03/electoral-reform- Gordon-brown
Katwala, Sunder 2009. Electoral Reform: If not Now, When? Retrieved on 7th August, 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/22/electoral-reform-nick- clegg
Kennedy, Helena 2010. Britain Needs Real Electoral Reform. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/03/electoral-reform- Gordon-brown1
Milton, Nicholas 2009. Electoral Reform Could Save the Climate. Retrieved on 7th August, 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif- green/2009/oct/12/electoral-reform-climate-green-MPs
Wilks-Heeg, Stuart 2008. The purity of Elections in the UK-Causes for Concern. Retrieved on 7th August 2010 from http://www.jrrt.org.uk/uploads/Purity%20of%20Elections%20in%20the %20UK.pdf.