Elections should use more a democratic voting method

The Conservatives took nearly twice as many seats in West Sussex as all the other groups combined even though more than three out of five voters voted against them.

It took 1,557 votes to elect a Conservative councillor but 5,475 (more than three and a half times as many) to elect a UKIP councillor.

In the Worthing Pier division, more than seven out of ten voters voted against the Conservative winner, who had the lowest share of the votes of all the winners.

Although the Conservative Party gained unfairly overall from the first past the post voting system, there were examples of individual Conservative candidates who may have suffered from it.

First past the post helped the Labour Party in Southgate and Crawley Central, where the party’s candidate saw his share of the vote fall to 37 per cent, but he still defeated the Conservative candidate to whom he lost last time, because UKIP split the Conservative vote this time.

In Selsey, UKIP gained the seat from the sitting Conservative by a mere 110 votes, while the Labour candidate attracted 332 votes. So the UKIP candidate won although more voted against him than for him. If the voting had been by alternative vote (AV), the 332 Labour voters could have expressed a second preference, the winner would have represented the majority and it might have been the Conservative.

It was not just the under-represented UKIP, Liberal Democratic, Labour and Green Parties who were robbed by the undemocratic first past the post voting system but also, and more importantly, the voters who did not get the council they voted for. Some individual Conservative voters were probably also robbed as the examples of Southgate and Crawley Central and of Selsey show.

This is more evidence that England and Wales should use the more democratic and efficient Single Transferable Vote (STV) for local elections like Scotland and Northern Ireland already do.

Anthony Tuffin

Chairman

Make Votes Count In West Sussex