|A new way of voting|
|Tuesday, 09 February 2010 23:00|
We're currently between votes on
the government’s Constitutional Reform Bill, which will guarantee a
referendum on a new voting system for MPs early in the next parliament.
Last week I talked about the lack of trust in politics, and the measures the government was taking to help clean politics up and make politicians more accountable to you, the people we serve. One of the biggest challenges we face is increasing interest in politics, and voter turnout – the introduction of a proportional voting system for Members of Parliament could be one way of achieving this. That is why I voted for a Clause to hold a referendum early in the next Parliament on whether to move to the Alternative Vote in elections to the House of Commons.
A number of readers of my enews have asked what the Alternative Vote is?
Alternative Vote is a fairer way of electing Members of Parliament that ensures more people have a say in who represents them in Parliament.
The Alternative Vote system maintains the benefit of a strong constituency link between an MP and the electorate, but also offers voters increased choice, and the chance to express preferences for as many candidates as a voter wishes to.
When all the votes are counted if any candidate receives over 50% of the 1st preferences they will be declared the winner.
However, if there isn’t a clear winner then the candidate with the lowest number of 1st preferences is eliminated from the election, and the 2nd preferences on those ballot papers are allocated to the remaining candidates.
This continues until a candidate is allocated enough votes to get more than 50% support from the electorate in their constituency.
It means that each elected MP will have the chance to be elected with much broader support from their constituency, not just those who picked them as their first choice, and will make MPs more accountable.
A National Debate
But Alternative Vote is just one electoral system amongst many – and isn’t necessarily the right one for our country and our politics.
This referendum will ensure we finally have a national debate on how politics is run and how are politicians are elected – and this can only be of benefit to everyone with a stake in the political process – which is everybody.
We have a long road ahead of us, but tonight we took the first important step. I am proud to have been able to vote for that tonight.
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