Last week a referendum took place asking UK voters whether they wanted to change the way that MPs are elected in General Elections with a method known as the Alternative Vote. As part of Young Academic’s continued commitment to bringing you all the world, UK and student news that you need, today we bring you the lowdown on the voting system and why it was that so many students missed out on their chance of a say.
On 5th May, the UK public were asked if they wanted to replace the current first-past-the-post voting system with a method known as the Alternative Vote whereby instead of voting for just one candidate voters could rank candidates in order of preference. Many argue that too many votes are wasted under the current system as the majority of MPs are elected with less than 50% of voters’ support thus reducing the legitimacy of the elected. This discourages many from voting. With the new system candidates would have to work harder for votes and many feel it gives the voter more power. Despite the aforementioned pros, last Thursday the public voted no against the Alternative Vote. 19 million people turned up to have their say and 58% of the votes were against a change in the voting system.
“The Electoral Commission have released a statement saying that it was a cause for “serious concern” that many would-be voters missed out on voting as a result of insufficient resources.”
Since the referendum there have been campaigns in protest of the segregation of students at the polls across the UK which resulted in many losing their right to vote before the polls closed. Young Academic has heard that hundreds of voters across the UK were denied their right to vote due to long queues and ballot paper shortages. Many polling stations around the country were struggling to cope with the huge demand of voters. Students have united in protest after long queues at the polling stations were split in two – one for students and another “fast-track” queue for local residents which resulted in hundreds of students being prevented from casting their votes.
The Electoral Commission have released a statement saying that it was a cause for “serious concern” that many would-be voters missed out on voting as a result of insufficient resources and lack of accommodation for the number of voters that turned up to have their say. The independent body have pledged to conduct a “thorough review” into the incidents that occurred around the country which prevented people from voting.
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