There are voting system alternatives

I WOULD not disagree with Bob Knights that our electoral system needs updating, though it could be argued that more people wanted Amber Rudd than wanted anyone else. Alternative Voting will be an improvement but won’t make the system truly representative.

The election of Ed Miliband to leadership of the Labour Party proved that the AV system is open to the influence of politically active groups – the Trade Unions in that case.

The basic problem with our democracy is that voting is voluntary and that, for whatever reasons, a large proportion of the eligible electorate do not vote.

For example in Hastings and Rye, 36 per cent of eligible electors did not vote at all.

In neighbouring Bexhill and Battle, 31 per cent didn’t vote.

In local elections the turnout is very much lower – 69 per cent didn’t bother to vote in Rother District Council local elections in 2008.

Voting should be regarded as a civic duty not as a right.

It is time to look at compulsory voting where all registered voters are obliged to vote, or at least to attend, at the polling station.

This would help to ensure that any elected representative represents a majority of his constituents not just of those who voted.

Holding elections on a Saturday and/or Sunday would enable people to more easily get to vote.

Another benefit of compulsory voting is that it makes it harder for special interest groups to vote themselves in to power.

Obviously, there are arguments against compulsory voting, but it works in Australia and some other countries.

It at least helps to ensure that elected governments truly represent the majority.

In the meantime, I support Bob Knights call for everyone to get out and vote for the AV system on May 5.

Richard Tate

Raven Court, Battle