People who fear their votes are wasted are being given a “massive ray of hope” by new swapping sites, according to one developer.
Under the system, two people agree to vote for each other’s preferred party in their constituency.
The belief is this will increase the chances of their preferred party securing a seat elsewhere in the country and stop their vote being squandered on a minority candidate in their own constituency who has little chance of success.
Tom de Grunwald, who has helped to develop http://www.swapmyvote.uk, said the idea of putting “people whose votes are wasted in touch with other people whose votes are wasted” – in an attempt to give individuals more influence – emerged at the 2010 general election.
He said: “We built the website and we are getting some really good interest – hundreds to thousands of users and quite a number of swaps established with more and more people taking part.”
The London-based digital producer went on: “There are so many wins. If thousands of people use it we may see results change as a result – that would be amazing.
“Short of that, the existence of an alternative gives a massive ray of hope to anyone who has considered their vote to be wasted.
“Third, a big positive for me is connecting people with each other and people who might not have ever spoken before and discussed politics.
“In this system, by nature, they will will have different viewpoints and we will hopefully get some more political debate and up the ante with discussion in this country.”
Of the current first-past-the-post system, Mr de Grunwald said: “I am always disappointed with parties that gain from first-past-the-post not actually looking for a fairer system that works for the electorate.
“First-past-the-post parties do seem to defend the system which keeps them in power and this is fantastically interesting year – everything seems possible at the moment and I was not anticipating it would be like this.”
Elsewhere, voteswap.org has more of a focus on vote swaps in England between Labour and Green supporters in an attempt to limit the number of Conservative MPs.
“In return a Labour supporter in a seat that Labour is unlikely to win or lose pledges to vote Green, ‘lending’ their vote to a seat where it will make a difference.
“The national vote share does not change, but the number of Tory MPs goes down.
“In most seats being targeted by both Labour and Greens we make no recommendation. We are only advising on vote swaps in England, because other parties running in Scotland and Wales make swapping more complicated.”
“We cannot guarantee that people will honour the swaps they make on this site.
“But we know if they do it gives both Labour and Green supporters a greater chance of kicking the Conservatives out of government in May 2015, and boosting their respective parties at the same time.”
Source – Northern Echo, 20 Apr 2015