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Voting systems

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

This system was used for the first time in Scotland at the local government elections which took place on 3 May 2007.

Instead of marking a cross, voters indicate their preferences on the ballot paper by ranking the candidates in order (first, second, third etc) and may vote in this way for as many or as few of the listed candidates as they wish.

A formula is then used to calculate who is elected for each ward.  Each Council ward returns either three or four councillors to represent local people.  For a more detailed explanation please visit

First Past the Post (FPTP)

This voting system is used in UK Parliamentary elections. To vote under FPTP, the voter simply puts a cross on the ballot paper next to their preferred candidate. The candidate with the most votes wins.  For a more detailed explanation please visit

Additional Member System (AMS)

AMS is a combination of FPTP and closed list proportional representation. This is the system used for elections to the Scottish Parliament. Electors have two votes, one for the part or individual candidate on a list and the other for a candidate in a constituency. The constituency representatives are elected under the first past the post system.  For a more detailed explanation please visit

Last modified on 15 February 2022

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