'VoteSwap' website highlights the flaws of Britain's voting system

Big Ben, Westminster

A website suggesting how Labour and Green voters should vote to keep out the Conservatives shows how flawed our electoral system is.

'Vote Swap' is a website that allows those on the left to enter their post-code and as a result users will be taken to a page telling them which way they should vote (Labour or Green) in order to have the best chance of keeping the Conservatives out.

The idea is a form of tactical voting designed to benefit the left in British politics.

The basic idea behind the website is that in a particular seat the left of centre vote could be split due to voters voting for Labour and for the Greens. Combined Labour and Green voters may have more votes than the Conservatives, but the Conservatives could get in as they would have a plurality of seats.

Find out which way VoteSwap recommends you should vote here.

This interesting approach to tactical voting is an flaw of Britain’s first-past-the-post system where in an individual constituency the first candidate wins the seat. As a result, this leads to wasted votes and a parliament which fails to reflect how people vote.

2015 is unlikely to deliver change to the voting system as the referendum on AV in 2011 recently failed to pass and the Liberal Democrats - the main advocates of proportional representation - will suffer in the polls in May, but the election will likely highlight further flaws of the system.

If polls are anything to go by UKIP are expected to get a vote share in the low teens, but will fail to gain more than a handful of seats.

Additionally, the Greens are likely to get a much higher share of the vote than in 2010, but fail to make real gains in parliament.

As for the SNP, if they do get almost all the seats in Scotland, with around 45% of the vote then that will highlight the problem at the other end: parties that do really well in the electoral arena do even better when their vote shares are translated into seats.

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VoteSwap highlights these flaws, even dedicating a section of their website to Britain’s voting system. They say that:

“If vote swapping seems like a strange way to support your party, you’re right. But it’s not vote swapping that’s the problem – it’s the broken first-past-the-post voting system that necessitates such responses.”

VoteSwap demonstrates the absurdity of the UK's voting system, but even with another hung parliament looming it is unlikely to change for a while.

Have a look at the website here. Note: the site is only available for English constituencies.

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