What is First Past the Post (FPTP)?

Definition and meaning of First Past the Post (FPTP): First Past the Post is a voting system in American politics which allows the candidate with the most votes to win the election, regardless of whether or not they have a majority of the popular vote. This system has enabled the two-party system to dominate American politics, as it is almost impossible for independent candidates to win a plurality of the votes in an election. FPTP creates a winner-takes-all system, whereby the candidate with the most votes is automatically declared the winner, without any need for a run-off or majority vote.

This system has been widely criticized for its lack of fairness, as it often elects candidates who don’t have a majority of the vote, and for its tendency to entrench two-party politics. FPTP has been argued to decrease voter turnout, as those who feel their vote will not count are less likely to go to the polls. It is also argued that the system is undemocratic, as those who do not cast a vote for the winning candidate are effectively disenfranchised. For these reasons, it is argued that alternative voting systems should be adopted in order to create a more equitable and representative democracy.


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