Students get ready to AV their say in local elections

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On May 5, students will be able to vote on a proposal to reform the current voting system in the UK.

Voters will be asked to vote yes or no to the question: “At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?”

The current system, abbreviated FPTP or FPP, entitles the voter to elect one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins, without needing to achieve a minimum number of votes. In proposed alternative vote system, or AV, voters rank candidates in order of preference using numbers. A minimum of one candidate must be ranked, but voters do not have to rank every candidate. If a candidate receives more than half the “number one” votes, then they win the election, if not, the counting goes to the second round of voting and the candidate with the fewest amount of number one votes is removed from the contest. This process continues until there is a clear winner with more than half of the remaining votes. In terms of the referendum, a yes vote would be in favour of the proposal for an AV system, and a no vote being in favour of the current FPTP system.

On campus, students will be able to place their votes at the Chaplaincy Centre or at Barker House Farm. Robbie Pickles, LUSU President, believes that it is “very important” for students to vote in both the AV referendum and local elections. In regards to the AV system, he continued: “It’s the same system that the Student’s Union uses and we believe it to be a good system. Whether that is reflected nationally is a very different matter, but it works at Lancaster.”

Also taking place on May 5 are local city council and parish council elections. Pickles encourages students to vote locally as well as “there are several university candidates who can make a difference with their decisions at City Council.”
Anyone can follow the local and regional election totals, along with the final result on Friday May 6 from 4pm at aboutmyvote.co.uk

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