The Relay System

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The Relay System
A Weighted Voting System

     The Relay System is a weighted voting system combining the present 'First Past the Post' voting system with spread sheet technology to produce the most representative electoral system yet.

     Using the Relay System in a General Election you vote as you do now, for the candidate of your choice in your constituency. If they receive the most votes in your constituency they become your MP and keep your vote and all the other votes they collected as ‘Constituency Votes’. But if they lose, your candidate passes on their votes to their party, who collect them together as ‘Party Votes’ with those of the other unsuccessful candidates from that party.

     After voting is completed and the results and MPs confirmed, each party’s ‘Party Votes’ are divided amongst their MPs by the Electoral Commission who then add them to the MP’s ‘Constituency Votes’ to produce their ‘Total Vote’, which they can then use when voting at ‘Divisions’ in the House of Commons.

     With the Relay System, voting and the constituency link to MPs remains the same and you gain a representative system that treats all the electorate's votes equally so that their votes count rather than just being counted!

Key Terms of the Relay System

Constituency Votes
    These are the votes each MP received from their own constituency at the General Election.

Party Votes

    These are all the votes cast in favour of a party for their unsuccessful candidates at a General Election which are divided equally amongst the party's successful MPs. Any votes that cannot be distributed equally as whole votes amongst the MP’s go to the party’s leader in the House of Commons.

Total Block Vote
    This is the sum for each MP of his Constituency Votes plus his Party Votes, to be used whenever 'Divisions' are called for in the House of Commons and the MPs vote.

Additional Members and the Upper Vote Limit

     The object of the Relay System is to provide the least complicated voting system coupled with the most representative electoral system practicable. However the situation whereby a party has a significant percentage of votes nationally but has one, two or even no seats has to be considered, especially in light of the results of the 2015 UK General Election.

   In the 2015 UK General Election for example the UK Independence Party had 3,881,129 votes and the Green Party had 1,157,613 votes or 12.6% and 3.8% of the UK vote respectively but both parties only had one MP each. This means that the UKIP member could have a vote equivalent to eighty or more ‘Average’ MP’s Total Vote*.

     Having a single individual with such an overwhelming ‘Total Vote’ would be unhealthy for the democratic process to say the least and therefore some sort of check should be put in place. With the Relay System this is called the Upper Vote Limit.

     The Upper Vote Limit or UVL puts a ceiling on the Total Vote any single MP can have. The UVL is expressed as a percentage of the votes cast because of the variations in votes cast at General Elections. A UVL for example of 3% would with the present number of MPs in the House of Commons being six hundred and fifty, mean the maximum total votes any individual MP could have, would be equivalent to that of twenty ‘Average’ MPs’ Total Vote. However as one of the two objectives of the Relay System is to be the most representative electoral system practicable there has to be a balance to the UVL and the balance is ‘Additional MPs’.

     Additional MPs would have no constituency but would be allotted when the ‘Total Vote’ of one or more MPs from a political party was curtailed by the UVL. For example with a UVL of 3%, the UKIP MP with 12.6% of the vote would be allotted a further four Additional MPs all sharing the UKIP ‘Party Votes’.

    Any ‘Additional MPs’ should however have been subject to some public scrutiny and should therefore been a candidate for that party in the General Election and their allotment made according to the number of votes they received in their constituencies at the General Election in descending order and not selected from a party list.

     Moreover it follows that any party getting a significant percentage of the vote but not winning a single constituency should also be allotted ‘Additional MPs’. Again this significant percentage should be a predetermined percentage of the votes cast. Were this for example 1%, which may appear low but is still equivalent to six times the ‘Average’ MPs’ Total Vote, in the 2015 General Election no further ‘Additional MPs’ would have been allotted.

* An ‘Average’ MP’s Total Vote is based on taking the total votes cast in the UK General Election and dividing them by the number of constituencies, each of which has an  MP. For example in the 2015 UK General Election 30,697,845 votes were cast and there were 650 constituencies, giving a Total Vote for an ‘Average’ MP of 47,227 votes. This figure is slightly higher than the actual mean average of all MPs Total Votes but is a reasonable estimate and easily calculated.

Read further about the Relay System here.


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University Seats and Other Options
University Seats

This option would be to allocate seats for groups of Universities, in effect ‘University Constituencies’. Students would be registered on the electoral roll for their University Constituency as part of their joining routine and removed from any other they may have been on, unless they specifically opt to remain registered with another constituency. Many students do not vote because they have not registered or they are registered to vote from where they lived previously and are unlikely to return on Election Day to vote. This would facilitate voting by a large number of young persons and also make it more relevant to them.

Armed Forces Seats in Parliament

              Civilian MPs could be allocated for each of the UK armed services, the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Each service would then have their own civilian representatives in the House of Common within Parliament. Presently the number of people in each of the armed forces is similar to those in some constituencies and this could be introduced as part of an extension to the Armed Forces Covenant. This would give better representation for HM Forces who are not allowed to protest normally or take industrial action.

Consensus Politics

             Presently in the House of Commons during divisions a difference of one vote is enough to see legislation passed. It is not surprising then when a government comes to power that has broadly speaking the opposite views to the government before it, that the new government spends a large proportion of it’s time reversing the legislation and decisions of the previous incumbents. With the same process happening in reverse one or two general elections down the line.

             All this activity may be very impressive in newsprint and to the followers of political parties but it is not very productive or conducive for the creation and delivery of long-term policies for the country. In fact the present situation is very wasteful and expensive for the country and undermines our ability as a country to deliver long-term projects of any value.

            Were we to have a system where 55% or even possibly 60% of the vote would be required for any new legislation to be passed, only new legislation with a broader consensus could be passed and it would be less likely that later governments would wish to reverse that legislation. Then rather than going right or left we could go forward more productively without the waste and extra expense we presently incur.

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