26 Apr 2010

Everyone's vote is not equal

In Stroud in the last General Election 40% voted for David Drew - the rest of the votes don't count. Our constituency is bigger than average so it means voters have less influence than other areas but because it is marginal we have more say - some 60% of seats never change hands - you may wonder why people bother to vote in those constituencies!

Photo: Stroud 2005 results

The New Economics Foundation (nef) write: "In a democracy, you'd assume that everyone's vote is valued equally. But the truth is that the power of your vote depends on where you live. A new website - the Voter Power Index - uses nef research to reveal the unequal distribution of power in the UK's broken "first-past-the-post" electoral system. Voters who live in more marginal constituencies, with fewer registered voters wield more power than those who live in safe seats, with large numbers of voters. The average voter in the UK has a mere quarter of a vote, while those living in the safest seats have less than one thousandth. We believe that this research presents a powerful case for electoral reform. And with the growing possibility of a hung parliament after next month's election, the opportunity for change has never been greater. A fairer, proportional system - chosen by citizens themselves - would restore faith in democracy, tackle public apathy and end careerism among MPs."

See Stroud results here. It is indeed time for change.

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