Election Cancelled

1 May 2015

There has been a shocking increase in the number of uncontested seats in some English councils up for election this May. The Eden District Council in Cumbria has already declared 21 of its 38 available seats, meaning that a clear majority of the council (55%) has been returned before the election has even taken place. This is up from 50% of seats in 2011.

Similarly, in South Northamptonshire in the West Midlands a third of councillors will be returned uncontested. The appointment of councillors without any competition is bad for our democracy, as year after year electors are presented with no option as to who will represent them.

One of the major culprits in this sorry situation is the first past the post system for local elections in England and Wales. This system destroys the incentive to stand for election in ‘safe’ seats, and so deprives voters of a choice at the ballot box.

However, this problem has a clear solution. Scotland used to suffer from the problem of uncontested seats. This was eradicated by the introduction of Single Transferable Vote (STV) at local elections. Today, all council seats in Scotland are regularly contested, giving voters a real choice at the ballot box.

The urgency of this issue is shown by the actual increase of councillors being elected without opposition in certain areas of England. The number of unopposed councillors in South Staffordshire, for example, has leaped from three to fourteen since the last election.

The obvious and fair way to stop this blight on our democracy is through the introduction of STV at local elections in England and Wales. It has eliminated uncontested seats in Scotland, it can do it in England and Wales too.

Comments

3 Responses to Election Cancelled

David Harvey 1 May 2015
6:22pm

As EFS have pointed out many times, a significant majority of constituencies will return a candidate of a specific party with almost 100% certainty.
While there can be no doubt that if it wer not for the significant increase in alternative parties there would be no need for electoral reform, but perhaps the time now has come to unite and push for change togeather?
If you are wonder how you can best make your voice heard in a "safe seat" the loudest way to shout for change is to intentinally spoil your ballot (proof is coming).
I know this can have no official meaning, but real humans read them, and they will know! Write a short message on your ballot candidates and electoral agents will know why you did it. So when you have the farcical result of a candidate elected when their were more spoilt ballots (if all non-voters had done that in 2010 that would have happened in 438 of the 650 seats) the outcome will be to listen to those objectors. So by putting your issue on the ballot paper you will be one step ahead of the game.
As for proof that this does actually have the desired impact see The Electoral Commission report into PCC elections  3.86 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/154353...
and the Electoral Reform Societies own work that says an increase number of spoilt ballots with mire result with controvorsy  p13 http://t.co/5PM1b2tD4I

David Harvey 1 May 2015
6:22pm

As EFS have pointed out many times, a significant majority of constituencies will return a candidate of a specific party with almost 100% certainty.
While there can be no doubt that if it wer not for the significant increase in alternative parties there would be no need for electoral reform, but perhaps the time now has come to unite and push for change togeather?
If you are wonder how you can best make your voice heard in a "safe seat" the loudest way to shout for change is to intentinally spoil your ballot (proof is coming).
I know this can have no official meaning, but real humans read them, and they will know! Write a short message on your ballot candidates and electoral agents will know why you did it. So when you have the farcical result of a candidate elected when their were more spoilt ballots (if all non-voters had done that in 2010 that would have happened in 438 of the 650 seats) the outcome will be to listen to those objectors. So by putting your issue on the ballot paper you will be one step ahead of the game.
As for proof that this does actually have the desired impact see The Electoral Commission report into PCC elections  3.86 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/154353...
and the Electoral Reform Societies own work that says an increase number of spoilt ballots with mire result with controvorsy  p13 http://t.co/5PM1b2tD4I

Paul 26 Jan 2017
10:57pm

Dear Friends 
What is other term for uncontested seats? I am looking for some papers where this problem is explained? Please give my some tips.

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