Moving to the alternative vote (AV) system to elect our MPs would increase my voter power by 31%.
This rather precise figure has been calculated by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) who have done a statistical analysis of the impact that a move to AV would have on voting in the UK. As people prepare to vote in the referendum on AV on the 5th May it can be difficult to get a handle on the reasons for and against the change. I, along with others who favour a change to AV, would argue that moving to the new system gives more power to the ordinary voter. What NEF have tried to do in their research is to put a number on that increase in power.
They have calculated that a move to AV means an increase in the average power of UK voters from 0.285 of a vote to 0.352 of a vote (where a score of 1 is a fair vote). This means an increase in the number of very marginal seats from 81 to 125, an increase of 44 seats, and a reduction in the number of very-safe seats from 331 to 271 a reduction of 60 seats.
For Luton North AV would mean a change from 0.210 to 0.275.
For Luton South AV would mean a change from 0.236 to 0.308.
Both would mean an increase in voter power of 31% for Luton voters.
What does this tell us? Well if you accept the NEF analysis, and they are a very respected organisation so I see no reason not to, it shows that a move to AV would give more power to voters. It is still a long way short of a fully fair voting system – one where your vote has the full voting power of 1 vote! But it does increase voter power, in Luton by just under a third.
That 31% is not to be sniffed at and is as good enough as any reason to vote Yes in the referendum on May 5th.