Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Wizzers of Soz's First Vote & The Results

Family history once more - just two days after her birthday The Wizzers of Soz got to exercise her democratic right for the first time (there wasn't an election last year).

Along with the rest of us she manhandled the massively long ballot paper for the European elections and the much more manageable paper for the County Council elections into her chosen booth and made her mark on each.

And, no, despite being something of a political animal and argumentative sod myself I didn't have any input into where she placed her X. Happily, though, and without consultation between any of us Mrs The Millbrooker, Wizzers and I all voted the same way.

I soooo wanted to put an X next to the Socialist Labour Party (leader Arthur Scargill), but recognising a completely wasted vote when I see it, I scrawled my illiterate's mark elsewhere.

I've just checked the county council election results, so for anyone interested, here's a summary of what those who exercised their democratic right did.

Rame (that's us) voted as follows:

Total votes cast: 2025 from an electorate of 3888.
Total number of ballot papers issued was 2031 and 6 of those got spoiled.
So the turnout was 52% (not bad, but that still means that 48% have absolutely no right whatever to moan about what's done by the new unitary council in my 'umble).

The winner with 682 votes was George Trubody (ToryBoy, probably not very bright).

Runner up (therefore not elected to anything at all) with 553 votes was Rebecca Lingard (Independent) .

Then in order of the voters' preference -
Peter Nicholas (Lib Dem) 385 votes
Russ Smith (UKIP) 264 (just a thought, what possible relevance has UKIP got to a local election anyway?)
Jeremy Evans (Cornish Nationalist - Mebyon Kernow) 141
So, with a huge amount fewer than half the votes cast we get a Tory apparatchik. Surely it's time for a change to the AV (alternative vote) system for all elections? AV keeps the community connection but in the end results in the winning candidate being the least worst choice of the majority of the electorate.
The county council looks like this:

Conservative 50 seats (34% of the vote) (boo!)
Liberal Democrat 38 seats (28% of the vote) (dull, dull, dull...)
Independents 32 seats (23% of the vote) (we'll have to wait and see...)
Mebyon Kernow 3 seats (4%) (How? Why?)
Overall Turnout: 41%
For the uninitiated, here's how AV works.
Just like now, the ballot paper has a full list of the candidates to choose from. But instead of putting an X next to your favoured candidate, you put a "1" next to their name, and a "2" next to your second favourite, a "3" next to your third etc etc.
The first choice votes are counted - so they count all the Number 1s (stop sniggering at the back there). Unless one candidate has over 50% of the 1s next to his/her name, in which case they win outright, the lowest ranked candidate is eliminated (not literally - just from the election) and his or her papers are recounted with the number 2s being distributed (look I said stop sniggering at the back) amongst the relevant candidates. If this gives one of the remaining lot over 50% of the vote - then we have a winner.
If not - the lowest scoring remaining candidate is eliminated and his/her 2nd choice votes are counted and distributed.....and so on ad infinitum until eventually by repetition we get someone who has totted up over 50%.
Not perfect, but I'd bet the results would have been more representative of the wishes of the general public than the current First Past The Post system.

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