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.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.