UK: Moving from FPTP to Fuzzy Choice and Counts
With the shambles over Brexit, politics in the UK is in turmoil as not seen in a century. Among the solutions being called for is another General Election. But the present voting system deprives much of the electorate of any precise voice in the polling booth and is rigged to favour large parties. Many citizens would not feel able to vote even remotely in accordance with their convictions and judgement. The First-Past-The-Post system with individual constituencies makes most votes count for nothing. With widespread dissatisfaction of how the Referendum outcome has been interpreted, what democracy we have in the UK is in crisis.
There is a solution which does not involve Proportional Representation (which assumes all politics must be organised along party lines) or various second vote schemes, whether with an alternative vote (AV, rejected by referendum several years ago) or second rounds, as in France.
The following is how a serious representative system would look taking the present system as a starting point.
* Require all candidates to obtain for election a certain number of votes to be determined by the size of the electorate, traditional turnout and the target number of seats.
* Install electronic voting at polling stations. The voter is provided on a first screen with the choice of constituency candidates they would currently see on the paper ballot. Voters discontent with this selection would have the option of moving to a second screen which would show all candidates in a larger area, say their county or a region.
* There would be a process where candidates falling far short of the threshold would redistribute their contingents of votes to candidates closer to the threshold. Similarly, very popular candidates would redistribute their surplus votes. This way no vote need go wasted while voters would have a much wider choice of candidate and so no longer vote for the least bad option.
This would diminish the power of parties while still according them an important role. Such a system of “transferable power of political attorney” would make parliament vastly more representative, reward outstanding candidates with the loyalty of supporters outside their narrow constituency while retaining a geographical anchor, and restore trust in democracy.