This method is followed in most of the countries, as it is the simplest form of representation. According to this principle, the whole country is divided into electoral districts or areas known as constituency. The electoral districts are drawn so as to contain approximately equal population, and a single member is elected from each district, by majority vote.
To make this system work effectively, the boundaries of constituency have to be redrawn and altered to keep pace with the growth and variations of the populations.
Merits of the system:
The most important merit of this system is that it is the most simple and convenient form. In this system, the voter is required to simply cast a vote for the one representative in a constituency, Secondly the limited area of a constituency enables the voter to know his area of a representative well. The representative will also strive to develop the constituency.
Thirdly, since the area is clearly defined and restricted it is economical for the representatives.
Fourthly this system is being practiced in most of the countries and has proved to be effective in securing a stable majority in the legislature and must ensures a strong and stable government.
Demerits of the System:
The system of geographical representation has a tendency to make the representative a custodian of only local interest, and in his eagerness to develop his constituency, he tends to ignore the national interest.
The elected representative will act as an agent for securing every advantage for his constituency at the cost of national interest.
Secondly, this promotes the sons of the soil policy. That is, voters will prefer to vote for a candidate who is a resident of the constituency.
This may end in electing an inferior candidate because he happens to be a 'local man.' An able candidate may be defeated just because he belongs not to this constituency but belongs to a different place.
Thirdly, especially at times of by-election the government can easily concentrate on the constituency and influence the voters to return their candidate in the election.
Fourthly, the boundaries are to be redrawn frequently to maintain a balance of population. This provides an opportunity to the ruling party to make alteration in the constitution its
favour. This manipulation of boundaries of a constituency is called 'gerrymandering.'
To avoid this unfair manipulation, redrawing of constituency should be given to a responsible independent body.
Fifthly, under this system a relative majority is required to win a seat. That is a candidate who secures the maximum number of votes polled is declared elected. This is called' the first to post the poll' principle.
The one who crosses the post is declared elected. The Great defect of this system is sometimes, a candidate who has secured 40 percent of the vote will get elected. Considered this Example . In a constituency 4 parties are contesting namely Party A, Party B, Party C, and Party D.
In a constituency where there are say 1000 Party A gets 400 votes, Party b gets 200 votes, Party C gets 180 votes and Party D gets 220 votes. In this example, the candidate Contesting for Party A gets elected even though he has got only 40% of the votes, which is not a majority. Is only a relative majority. Even though it cannot be accepted as really democratic, this system is followed in most of the countries, because the alternatives to this system are much more complicated, and cumbersome.
Sixthly in this single member constituency exact representative of the electorate is not ensured. Certain small minorities may go altogether unrepresentative, and the legislature may not reflect the minorities in the constituency.
For example, in India, in a constituency, Hindus may be in majority and Muslims and Christians may be in minority. Normally, the Hindu candidate will win in the election.
Though Muslims, Christians and other minorities are living there, they may not get a representative. This applies to linguistic minorities also.
In India, especially which is caste oriented, schedule caste and schedule tribes may not get any representation as they are in minority.
This problem is overcome in India by reserving some constituencies exclusively for schedule caste and schedule tribes. In this, reserved constituency, only people belonging to schedule caste or schedule tribes can contest.