Sunday 13 July 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014 Posted by Jake 2 comments Labels: , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, July 13, 2014 with 2 comments | Labels: , , , , ,

How many votes should you get to win an election? Whether for Parliament or for industrial action? 

David Cameron proposed that a 'threshold' must be passed in addition to being 'first past the post'. Boris Johnson would like the threshold to be at least 50% of eligible voters (including those that don't vote). Both politicians intend this threshold only for strike ballots. But what if a threshold were applied to MPs?

Figures from the Electoral Commission for the 2010 General Election show what percentage of all voters in each parliamentary constituency voted for the winner. Precisely zero MPs had the support of more than 50% of eligible voters in their own constituency. None had the support of more than 46% of elgible voters.

Consider the three main parties seperately:
Conservatives: Highest 45%; Lowest 21%

Labour: Highest 40%; Lowest 18%

Liberal Democrats: Highest 46%; Lowest 19%
Those who don't vote effectively vote to follow the decision of others, whether electing MPs or deciding on strikes. To ensure higher voter turnouts two things are needed:
1) Introduce compulsory voting.
2) Include "I Abstain" as a choice on the ballot.

However, we wonder whether MPs really want it known that between 54% and 82% of their constituents did not vote for them?


  1. Interesting data. Under the first past the post system it is always likely that minority candidates will win. It means that to beat the odds, folk have to do tactical voting rather than support the real candidate of their choice. This is to many people is a real moral dilemma. It is surprising that the proportion of the population voting has not fallen further.

    I don't think it really compares with strike ballots which are essentially binary rather than having several options. But, even so, if you are in a union and you don't vote, you can't complain.

    A democracy is all about voting and making decisions, and those who vote make the decisions and those who don't - don't. it is just a shame we don't have a better election system for parliament.

    1. The key point is in the UK it is accepted that people who don't vote get ignored.


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