So the First Past the Post versus Alternative Vote scrap is finally over and we’re still stuck with the most unrepresentative voting system. Or is it?
How about the voting system we just used in the South Holland elections?
Each of us had the opportunity to vote for as many candidates as our ward had seats. On the face of it that does appear reasonable. Reasonable until the results are studied.
Here’s my interpretation of what I found. Please challenge if you disagree.
It was no surprise to discover that, when given the opportunity to vote for more than one candidate, most voted for the same party. The only exceptions appear to be when minor parties were in play. It’s also evident that a large number of voters took full advantage of their ability to cast multiple votes.
Here’s my major concern.
Those that cast multiple votes when two or more candidates from their party were standing had significantly more power to elect over those that voted for a party with fewer candidates. That’s just not democratic and I believe influenced the election outcome in seven of the 18 South Holland Wards.
Had a “One Person, One Vote” system been used the results would likely have been altered as follows….
l Long Sutton: Jack Tyrrell (C) would have taken the third seat from Simon Booth (I)
l Moulton, Weston and Cowbit: Paul Winn (I) would have taken the third seat from Rodney Grocock (C)
l Spalding St Paul’s: Lee Swallow (I) would have taken the second seat from Andrew Miller (C)
l Spalding Wygate: A difficult one to call but there’s a distinct possibility that Jason-Marc Godfrey (I) would have taken the second seat from Christine Lawton (C)
l Sutton Bridge: Thomas Rowe (C) would have taken the second seat from Michael Booth (I)
l Whaplode and Holbeach St Johns: Michael Pullen (I) would have taken the second seat from Malcolm Chandler (C)
l Last and by no means least...Spalding St Mary’s: Robert West (I) would have taken the second seat from Gary Porter (C).
Am I alone in finding it ironic that the current leader of the council would not have been elected had the voting system he and his party vehemently support been used?
Given the above plus the overwhelming referendum support for “One Person, One Vote”, might I suggest that the council gives very serious consideration to changing the district’s voting system?
Democratic voting has to be based on equal votes for all and should have nothing whatsoever to do with the candidates standing for election or the number of seats available.
The council may well have more urgent issues to address but there’s little that’s more important than the electoral system we use.
Can I hope for serious and public debate?