Voting

A Liberal Democrats national administration would extend voting to 16 year olds for all levels of government.

It would also introduce voting reform.  It is likely that the preferred choice would be STV-MMC.  At present we have first past the post.  This system works okay if there are only two parties but FPTP does not allow the voter to choose between candidates of the same party.

2015 STV Results

STC-MMC – simply the use of a single transferable vote using multi-member constituencies – has many advantages.  It enables the voter to give their first preference to their favorite candidate. If that candidate comes last then the voter’s ballot is passed to be given to their second favorite candidate.  This process continues until either the voter elects someone or, less likely, the vote is completed.

On current forecasts STV-MMC would produce the following national outcome:

Con 222
Lab 211
LibDem 79
UKIP 70
Green 26
SNP 23
PlaidCymru 3
Other 11

Although under STV-MMC the voting would different because people could vote for who they really wanted rather than vote tactically.  The Greens, UKIP and Lib Dems would probably increase their number of seats and Conservatives and Labour reduce theirs.

The benefit of multiple-member constituencies is that voters can select their favourite candidate within the party they support.  For example, in Surrey, where all the previous MPs were of the Conservative party, a Conservative party voter could select, as their first preference, a Euro-skeptic Conservative over a pro-Europe Conservative – or vice versa.

Although in Surrey, under STV-MMC the Conservative party would not win 11 MPs again (the result could well be Con 6, Lib Dem 3, Labour 2) Elsewhere in the country Conservatives would gain more MPs.

I am particularly keen on elections by fifths. This would follow the example of local government that have election by thirds. At the national level each year a fifth of the MPs would retire and an election would be held in their areas. Each MP would be elected for a full five years but the government could change each year (although it would be unlikely to do so).  Government would become far more sensitive to popular opinion and counter intuitively the electorate would, in my view, vote more constructively than it does now (because there is so much tactical voting at present and people not voting because they currently live in safe seats).