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Problems with the UK electoral system
#1

Problems with the UK electoral system
Okay so I've talked about from time to time the need for electoral reform, both here in Australia and overseas, so as a UK election system has been called I thought I'd go over their system and point out the flaws that in my view need reform. To be clear I'm not claiming we have a perfect system here, I believe we need electoral reform as well - in particular I'd like to see us move in a direction of proportional representation, and to clean-up the problems with high numbers of informal votes.

In the UK elections are typically held on a Thursday (that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me), and if you want to vote you must attend the polling station you are assigned to (that sounds unbelievably stupid). If you can't attend in person on polling day you can cast a vote by proxy (have someone vote on your behalf, which also sounds pretty fucking stupid) or by mail and you have to apply well in advance (that sounds pretty fucking stupid). Blind people cannot cast a secret ballot (that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me, and a High Court ruing earlier this year said as much). And to top it all off, it's First-Past-The-Post.

Oh dear, I honestly don't even know where to begin with this mess.

Let's start with availability to vote. As I have said many, many times, with a compulsory voting system the government is forced to provide opportunity to every citizen to vote. This is completely opposite to the UK's approach which says it's up to the citizen to make their own arrangements to vote. What if you're stuck outside of your electorate on polling day, or in a hospital?

Okay let me address the blind first. You can't have blind people go to a polling station and cast their vote in front of others and requiring their assistance, that completely undermines the principle of the secret ballot. Not to mention it's discriminatory, humiliating, and dehumanising. In Australia there are two options available to the blind and low vision voters, the first is Braille ballot papers which allows independent secret voting, and the second is telephone voting which I see as less secure, but nevertheless allows a blind or low vision person to cast their vote in secret.

There are many other minorities who presently can't vote, or may be unable to vote in the UK. The first example I will give are prisoners serving a sentence shorter than the electoral period. In Australia they have the right to vote, indeed they're legally required to do so just as everyone else is. Only prisoners that will remain serving their sentence past the next electoral term are not allowed to vote. This has the effect that someone serving a short sentence for a petty crime for example is allowed to vote, as well treating them equally with those who already served such a sentence but were released at the time of the election. To state that another way; you won't be discriminated against because of when your sentence occurred - if it's a short sentence that just happened to overlap with an election you should be allowed to vote just as if you had served that sentence in-between the electoral cycle. An example here might help - Alice is sentenced to two years in prison and serves her sentence from Jan 2018 through to Jan 2020. Bob is sentenced to two years in prison and serves his sentence from Jan 2020 to Jan 2022. Bob was able to vote in the December 2019 election, Alice was not. Bob was not prevented from voting in any UK national election, whereas Alice was. There are people that say "well that's just part of the prison sentence" - while that argument has some merit, the fact is it is clearly inequitable: either neither should have been allowed to vote, or both should have been allowed to.

Patients in hospital, who are away from home. Women in crisis accommodation who can't risk potentially facing their offender at the polling place. Homeless people. Disabled people who require assistance to attend a polling place. People in aged care. People who have to work the whole of the time the polling place is open - police officers, fire fighters, truck drivers, surgeons, etc.

The solution to all of these problems is: 1. allow people to vote at the polling place of their choice, 2. provide mobile polling stations, and 3. allow pre-polling. Voting by proxy has to be the stupidest idea that I've ever heard of. Supposedly it's there to address these problems, but it undermines the principles of the secret ballot and universal suffrage. And yes under certain conditions you can do it in Australia, doesn't make it any less stupid.

There's also people overseas. How does the UK provide them with assistance to vote?

It doesn't.

It expects them to request a postal ballot if they want to vote, or to arrange a proxy:

Quote:If you’re moving or living abroad

You need to register as an overseas voter.

You can then vote by post or proxy, if you’re eligible. You’ll be asked to make this choice when you register.
You’ll then need to apply by filling in and posting one of the following :
You can also ask for it to be emailed or posted to you from the service.

You can vote in UK Parliament and European Parliament elections. You may be able to vote in referendums. Each referendum has different rules on who can vote in it.
If you’re registered in Northern Ireland you cannot vote by post.

https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk

What about diplomats and armed forces? They get to chose between those two options, or to not vote at all. With the added hurdle that they have to register to vote every five years or they may not be able to choose to vote at all. I know I keep saying this, but that sounds pretty fucking stupid. The UK sets up zero overseas polling stations. They don't set them up in the EU where many of their citizens temporarily or permanently reside, they don't even set them up for the military and diplomatic officers posted abroad. Australia sets up around 80 polling places overseas, including in Antarctica, in military bases, and of course in the UK where Australians can go and vote in at Australia House in London. In fact Australia House London alone received 12,978 pre-poll votes and 487 postal votes for this year's federal election in May (and keep in mind most of those voters are not required to vote in our system).

In addition to all these problems, it's a terrible, archaic, First Past the Post system. Designed for a two-party system. Instant run-off voting would at least provide a better system, but proportional representation would be best. At the moment they have the worst possible system, democratically speaking.

In our last election, in May, we had a voter turnout of about 87% (officially reported as 92%). And that does worry me. It worries a lot of us that love our democracy and want to protect it - I think we should be aiming for 95%, that's sustainable. Part of the problem is that I don't think that many people understand that casting an informal vote is illegal. Also we have so many migrants who have come from countries where they may never have voted. This statistic looks even worse when you consider that an estimated 3.2% of the population failed to enrol to vote. That brings voter turnout down to 83.5%.

In the UK 2017 voter turnout was 68.5% (officially reported as 68.7%). I only count valid votes in voter turnout, therefore that means invalid votes are not counted. But there's another problem, in that it doesn't count under-enrolment. Because the UK does not have compulsory voting, they also lack proper reporting on under-enrolment. Nevetheless the UK's Electoral Commission estimates that 15% of eligible people are not enrolled to vote. That number has barely, if at all, changed over the last decade. That brings the total voter turnout down to 58%.

Therein lies the problem. Because of the FPTP counting system, combined with very low voter turnout, and the fact that the Tories got 42.4% of the popular vote, means they are governing for the 25% of the eligible voters that voted for them. This is what I mean when I say "governing from their base". By way of comparison, because we have a preferential system here it means that our government is governing with the support of 43% of the eligible voters as opposed to 40% that would prefer the opposition.
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#2

Problems with the UK electoral system
(10-30-2019, 08:22 AM)Aractus Wrote: Okay so I've talked about from time to time the need for electoral reform, both here in Australia and overseas, so as a UK election system has been called I thought I'd go over their system and point out the flaws that in my view need reform. To be clear I'm not claiming we have a perfect system here, I believe we need electoral reform as well - in particular I'd like to see us move in a direction of proportional representation, and to clean-up the problems with high numbers of informal votes.

In the UK elections are typically held on a Thursday (that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me), and if you want to vote you must attend the polling station you are assigned to (that sounds unbelievably stupid). If you can't attend in person on polling day you can cast a vote by proxy (have someone vote on your behalf, which also sounds pretty fucking stupid) or by mail and you have to apply well in advance (that sounds pretty fucking stupid). Blind people cannot cast a secret ballot (that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me, and a High Court ruing earlier this year said as much). And to top it all off, it's First-Past-The-Post.

Oh dear, I honestly don't even know where to begin with this mess.

Let's start with availability to vote. As I have said many, many times, with a compulsory voting system the government is forced to provide opportunity to every citizen to vote. This is completely opposite to the UK's approach which says it's up to the citizen to make their own arrangements to vote. What if you're stuck outside of your electorate on polling day, or in a hospital?

Okay let me address the blind first. You can't have blind people go to a polling station and cast their vote in front of others and requiring their assistance, that completely undermines the principle of the secret ballot. Not to mention it's discriminatory, humiliating, and dehumanising. In Australia there are two options available to the blind and low vision voters, the first is Braille ballot papers which allows independent secret voting, and the second is telephone voting which I see as less secure, but nevertheless allows a blind or low vision person to cast their vote in secret.

There are many other minorities who presently can't vote, or may be unable to vote in the UK. The first example I will give are prisoners serving a sentence shorter than the electoral period. In Australia they have the right to vote, indeed they're legally required to do so just as everyone else is. Only prisoners that will remain serving their sentence past the next electoral term are not allowed to vote. This has the effect that someone serving a short sentence for a petty crime for example is allowed to vote, as well treating them equally with those who already served such a sentence but were released at the time of the election. To state that another way; you won't be discriminated against because of when your sentence occurred - if it's a short sentence that just happened to overlap with an election you should be allowed to vote just as if you had served that sentence in-between the electoral cycle. An example here might help - Alice is sentenced to two years in prison and serves her sentence from Jan 2018 through to Jan 2020. Bob is sentenced to two years in prison and serves his sentence from Jan 2020 to Jan 2022. Bob was able to vote in the December 2019 election, Alice was not. Bob was not prevented from voting in any UK national election, whereas Alice was. There are people that say "well that's just part of the prison sentence" - while that argument has some merit, the fact is it is clearly inequitable: either neither should have been allowed to vote, or both should have been allowed to.

Patients in hospital, who are away from home. Women in crisis accommodation who can't risk potentially facing their offender at the polling place. Homeless people. Disabled people who require assistance to attend a polling place. People in aged care. People who have to work the whole of the time the polling place is open - police officers, fire fighters, truck drivers, surgeons, etc.

The solution to all of these problems is: 1. allow people to vote at the polling place of their choice, 2. provide mobile polling stations, and 3. allow pre-polling. Voting by proxy has to be the stupidest idea that I've ever heard of. Supposedly it's there to address these problems, but it undermines the principles of the secret ballot and universal suffrage. And yes under certain conditions you can do it in Australia, doesn't make it any less stupid.

There's also people overseas. How does the UK provide them with assistance to vote?

It doesn't.

It expects them to request a postal ballot if they want to vote, or to arrange a proxy:

Quote:If you’re moving or living abroad

You need to register as an overseas voter.

You can then vote by post or proxy, if you’re eligible. You’ll be asked to make this choice when you register.
You’ll then need to apply by filling in and posting one of the following :
You can also ask for it to be emailed or posted to you from the service.

You can vote in UK Parliament and European Parliament elections. You may be able to vote in referendums. Each referendum has different rules on who can vote in it.
If you’re registered in Northern Ireland you cannot vote by post.

https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk

What about diplomats and armed forces? They get to chose between those two options, or to not vote at all. With the added hurdle that they have to register to vote every five years or they may not be able to choose to vote at all. I know I keep saying this, but that sounds pretty fucking stupid. The UK sets up zero overseas polling stations. They don't set them up in the EU where many of their citizens temporarily or permanently reside, they don't even set them up for the military and diplomatic officers posted abroad. Australia sets up around 80 polling places overseas, including in Antarctica, in military bases, and of course in the UK where Australians can go and vote in at Australia House in London. In fact Australia House London alone received 12,978 pre-poll votes and 487 postal votes for this year's federal election in May (and keep in mind most of those voters are not required to vote in our system).

In addition to all these problems, it's a terrible, archaic, First Past the Post system. Designed for a two-party system. Instant run-off voting would at least provide a better system, but proportional representation would be best. At the moment they have the worst possible system, democratically speaking.

In our last election, in May, we had a voter turnout of about 87% (officially reported as 92%). And that does worry me. It worries a lot of us that love our democracy and want to protect it - I think we should be aiming for 95%, that's sustainable. Part of the problem is that I don't think that many people understand that casting an informal vote is illegal. Also we have so many migrants who have come from countries where they may never have voted. This statistic looks even worse when you consider that an estimated 3.2% of the population failed to enrol to vote. That brings voter turnout down to 83.5%.

In the UK 2017 voter turnout was 68.5% (officially reported as 68.7%). I only count valid votes in voter turnout, therefore that means invalid votes are not counted. But there's another problem, in that it doesn't count under-enrolment. Because the UK does not have compulsory voting, they also lack proper reporting on under-enrolment. Nevetheless the UK's Electoral Commission estimates that 15% of eligible people are not enrolled to vote. That number has barely, if at all, changed over the last decade. That brings the total voter turnout down to 58%.

Therein lies the problem. Because of the FPTP counting system, combined with very low voter turnout, and the fact that the Tories got 42.4% of the popular vote, means they are governing for the 25% of the eligible voters that voted for them. This is what I mean when I say "governing from their base". By way of comparison, because we have a preferential system here it means that our government is governing with the support of 43% of the eligible voters as opposed to 40% that would prefer the opposition.

 Not sure I understand what you mean by '"proportional representation"  .Do you mean we  have a problem with gerrymanders here in Oz?

If this is a problem, where is it and how would you address the issue without effectively disenfranchising  people in say relatively sparsely populated areas?

I'm not having a go at you.  I was unaware of such a problem  and am interested in your opinion, especially if you can support it with figure.
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#3

Problems with the UK electoral system
The biggest problem with any electoral system is the voters.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#4

Problems with the UK electoral system
(10-31-2019, 01:00 AM)grympy Wrote: Not sure I understand what you mean by '"proportional representation"  .Do you mean we  have a problem with gerrymanders here in Oz?

The Senate is elected on proportional representation. We also have it here in ACT local elections.

Quote:If this is a problem, where is it and how would you address the issue without effectively disenfranchising  people in say relatively sparsely populated areas?

I'm not having a go at you.  I was unaware of such a problem  and am interested in your opinion, especially if you can support it with figure.

Sure, great question. There isn't a simple answer there at all, just look at the size of Katter's electorate as an example.

(10-31-2019, 01:26 AM)Minimalist Wrote: The biggest problem with any electoral system is the voters.

That is profoundly ignorant, with no offence intended. You can have democracy, with the human flaws of the electorate, or you can have dictatorship with the human flaws of the dictator.

The biggest problem with the US system is that citizens don't vote. Why do you think our politicians routinely say they don't want to risk a US-system whenever electoral reform is mentioned? They don't even think to say UK our "mother country" they point straight to the US as an example of a profoundly broken system.

I haven't looked in detail at how US elections are conducted, but I do know there's no pre-polling in a number of Sates, and I believe most of my criticisms of the UK system apply there. For example, you must vote at an assigned polling station instead of the one of your choice, and I don't believe they set up overseas polling stations even for the military or diplomatic persons. They're also worse in some aspects in that they require ID to be shown in order to vote. That'd be a huge barrier for some people, especially homeless people, also people in aged care, and other homebodies that don't routinely use ID. FWIW a driver's license as I've said before should only be used by law enforcement for the purposes of driving privileges. Use as proof of age I have no problem with, because there are alternative options for those who can't drive to prove their age. You can't tell me an aged-care person, who has lived 15 years in aged-care, has the opportunity much less the motive to purchase a "proof of age card" so they can show identity when they vote. That expectation is utterly appalling. Like I said though many others in the same situation - those that haven't yet learned to drive, drug addicts, those who lost their wallet. All of them have a right to vote.
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#5

Problems with the UK electoral system
Just quoting Churchill.  Take it up with him if you don't like what he said.  I don't care.

[Image: Winston-Churchill-Democracy-Quotes.jpg]
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#6

Problems with the UK electoral system
(10-31-2019, 06:34 AM)Aractus Wrote:
(10-31-2019, 01:00 AM)grympy Wrote: Not sure I understand what you mean by '"proportional representation"  .Do you mean we  have a problem with gerrymanders here in Oz?

The Senate is elected on proportional representation. We also have it here in ACT local elections.

Quote:If this is a problem, where is it and how would you address the issue without effectively disenfranchising  people in say relatively sparsely populated areas?

I'm not having a go at you.  I was unaware of such a problem  and am interested in your opinion, especially if you can support it with figure.

Sure, great question. There isn't a simple answer there at all, just look at the size of Katter's electorate as an example.

(10-31-2019, 01:26 AM)Minimalist Wrote: The biggest problem with any electoral system is the voters.

That is profoundly ignorant, with no offence intended. You can have democracy, with the human flaws of the electorate, or you can have dictatorship with the human flaws of the dictator.

The biggest problem with the US system is that citizens don't vote. Why do you think our politicians routinely say they don't want to risk a US-system whenever electoral reform is mentioned? They don't even think to say UK our "mother country" they point straight to the US as an example of a profoundly broken system.

I haven't looked in detail at how US elections are conducted, but I do know there's no pre-polling in a number of Sates, and I believe most of my criticisms of the UK system apply there. For example, you must vote at an assigned polling station instead of the one of your choice, and I don't believe they set up overseas polling stations even for the military or diplomatic persons. They're also worse in some aspects in that they require ID to be shown in order to vote. That'd be a huge barrier for some people, especially homeless people, also people in aged care, and other homebodies that don't routinely use ID. FWIW a driver's license as I've said before should only be used by law enforcement for the purposes of driving privileges. Use as proof of age I have no problem with, because there are alternative options for those who can't drive to prove their age. You can't tell me an aged-care person, who has lived 15 years in aged-care, has the opportunity much less the motive to purchase a "proof of age card" so they can show identity when they vote. That expectation is utterly appalling. Like I said though many others in the same situation - those that haven't yet learned to drive, drug addicts, those who lost their wallet. All of them have a right to vote.

 I think Min was only half serious . To accuse him of being ignorant  is an ad hominem attack and unhelpful.

 He  is largely right, imo.  To refine it a bit; the problem is the donkey voters . In Australia elections are decided not by the majority, but by a small percentage  of  swinging voters.  If not for the spectacle the  of  the Working Class Tories, Liberals and showers like Pauline Hanson would never get elected. 

My position remains unchanged : "We the people " are  sheep.  Democracy is an illusion, and has been since it was invented  in Athens. There, two thirds of the population could not vote (slaves and women)  Athenian democracy was rule by referendum , not by elected   area representatives.


Two  quotes by Winston Church, both I think are right ;

"The best argument against  democracy  is to spend  five minutes speaking with the average voter"

and  " Our system of government is the worst in the world, except for all the others"   

The Democratic process is a lot like the law and justice. When justice occurs it is by happy accident, not intent.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker
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#7

Problems with the UK electoral system
The biggest problem with our electoral system at the moment is Trump interfering and sticking his nose into our porridge pot.
Justaminute    Salisbury steak...... A hamburger by any other name. 
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#8

Problems with the UK electoral system
Quote: I think Min was only half serious . To accuse him of being ignorant  is an ad hominem attack and unhelpful.


Nah, Danny and I have been going back and forth like that for years.  He knows all too well what I think of him.

And..... Trump was elected by a bunch of racist, shitballs, who thought a TV star would make a good president.  I really don't think I was kidding.  And Hitler was elected, too.

At least Mussolini had the guts to march on Rome.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#9

Problems with the UK electoral system
For all the naysaying, turns out Antony Green largely agrees with what I've been saying:



Sorry about the quality I had to record it off my PVR to my PC through composite (my s-video cable is damaged it only delivered a black and white picture).

Obviously the newsreader is fairly clueless, but Green is one of the best electoral analysts in the country and here are the points he makes:
  • Brexit is the dominant issue, but he's prudent in explaining it's not a "Brexit referendum". He is a little unclear, that's just his style, but the UK electoral cycle is 5 years so you have to campaign on a policy platform to deliver over the next 5 years, not just the next few months.
  • Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is one of Labour's "big problems". He doesn't really explain too clearly for the Australian audience that he's a hard-left Eurosceptic whereas most of his party is pro-Remain, but he certainly makes that point.
  • Corbyn did better than expected in the 2017 election because May was a "wooden candidate". Johnson is a much better campaigner, and he's considerably more popular.
  • The First-Past-the-Post voting system could mean a split in remain votes between Lib Dem and Labour allowing Tories to get in in some seats.
  • Labour would be in a lot stronger position if they had a clearer Brexit policy/position. But they needed to do that 2 years ago. "It spent two years dithering" in Green's words.
  • He predicts the Tories will win, easily. Although he never says whether they may pick up seats or not, he certainly suggests that they should because Johnson is a better campaigner than May, but that was 2017 it's a different set of circumstances.
  • UK politics are very much divided by region.
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#10

Problems with the UK electoral system
(10-31-2019, 10:19 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote: I think Min was only half serious . To accuse him of being ignorant  is an ad hominem attack and unhelpful.


Nah, Danny and I have been going back and forth like that for years.  He knows all too well what I think of him.

And..... Trump was elected by a bunch of racist, shitballs, who thought a TV star would make a good president.  I really don't think I was kidding.  And Hitler was elected, too.

At least Mussolini had the guts to march on Rome.

Ah Min, Godwin's law? Really ?   Not needed with Trump, surely. Trump  doesn't come close to Hitler in terms of positive personal qualities  or ruthlessness.  Trump tries to discredit his critics . Hitler began murdering his in 1933.  

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder "  (Upton Sinclair) 

I would only start worrying about Trump if people begin to  turn up dead, or simply disappearing.

Calling trump "a TV star" is overstating the case, just as the term "reality TV star' is an oxymoron. Yeah, I saw him on that ghastly show ,once for about 10 minutes. All I remember thinking is "this man has the personal skills of a turnip".----and he's gotten a LOT worse since then.
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#11

Problems with the UK electoral system
No, Grymp.  The lesson is that populations of voters can do exceptionally stupid things at times.  Recall that in the 1932 election the Nazis actually lost seats but still came out of it as the #1 party.  In that Hitler and Trumpolini are quite similar:  Both were rejected by a majority and it took some parliamentary shenanigans in Hitler's case or electoral college bullshit in Trumps to bring them to power.  But both were "legal."

Are we really supposed to wait until the Orange Shitgibbon starts murdering his opponents to act? 

Fascists are fascists, Grymp.  It does not matter what color shirts they wear.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#12

Problems with the UK electoral system
(10-31-2019, 10:19 PM)Minimalist Wrote: And..... Trump was elected by a bunch of racist, shitballs, who thought a TV star would make a good president.  I really don't think I was kidding.  And Hitler was elected, too.

I don't like the way you make everything about Trump, and the fact you keep blaming the electorate. We're the ones who have a real nutter in the Lodge. You don't hear me whining about it in every single thread.

Also, Hitler was never elected. He was appointed. You should learn your history and not make incorrect claims. Hitler wasn't even the one who designed the death camps. Although the holocaust could not have happened without the NAZI's, they could not have existed in the first place if not for the cultural anti-Semitism that stretched back millennia. It also could not have happened without World War I and Germany's appalling treatment by the Allies, particularly France and UK. It's a flawed view of history that squarely blames Hitler for the Holocaust.

But even if he were elected, that's a different set of circumstances. Democracy in Germany was very young. It's often been the case that young democracies have failed.

There are other movements that are, or have been, just as evil although mostly on a smaller scale. ISIL. The State of Israel. Japan. North Korea. Countless cult members. We could go on and on. The US. The lynching of Emmett Till for example was just as evil as any of NAZI's atrocities. Even if you just count genocides there are plenty of other examples, Hither was not especially "evil" compared to others.

And comparing Trump to Hitler is just insane. Trump believes in diplomacy over war. Modern Germany is more similar to the NAZI regime than the Trump administration - which is saying something considering how they are also most certainly not on a path to another Holocaust. While they aren't, I'm not so sure about other EU countries.
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#13

Problems with the UK electoral system
FYI I just looked up Green's coverage of the 2017 election, and you'll see he lists out virtually all the criticisms I've made, but he's less directly critical of them.
  • "Under Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system, how the national vote translates into House of Commons seats is another layer of difficulty in predicting the result."
  • "The average enrolment in Labour seats is lower than in Conservative seats, and turnout also tends to be lower in Labour seats."
  • "The United Kingdom uses simple majority, or first-past-the-post, voting — the candidate with the most votes wins and there are no preferences."
  • "Voting is voluntary with all electors allocated to a local polling station which they can attend to vote in person between 7:00am and 10:00pm on polling day."
  • "If a voter cannot attend their allocated polling station on polling day, they must have earlier obtained the right to cast a postal ballot, or to have arranged someone to cast a proxy vote on their behalf at their allocated polling station."
  • "A voter cannot vote at any other polling station, either inside or outside their constituency, and there is also no in-person pre-poll voting."
  • "Polling at UK elections was first conducted on a single day in 1918 and by convention has been held on a Thursday at every election since 1935."
  • "Unlike Australia, counting in the UK does not take place in polling stations.
    "All ballot boxes, unused ballot papers and paper work associated with the count is transferred to a central counting centre, and there is usually one counting centre per council area where several constituency counts are conducted."
For UK readers, he like most electoral analysts in Australia doesn't think too highly of first-past-the-post (for example see this article). He's also a 100% proponent of proportional representation as being the best form of democracy. I also dare say he's 100% universally loved and respected by the public here in Australia, like I said he's our top electoral analyst out of everybody.

I actually do hope that Nigel Farage does well because he wants to bring in a hybrid instant run-off/proportional representation system that would be better than our system (that part would be better, although without compulsory voting it won't be as good as our democratic system), and he wants more of the electorate to vote. Those are both fantastic electoral reform goals to have. He's playing his cards close to his chest right now, I think he's going to go very tactical in the election.
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#14

Problems with the UK electoral system
We do it properly in Scotland...

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#15

Problems with the UK electoral system
Hitler was named to form a government, Danny, when other options failed.  That was the way they did things and it was perfectly legal in Germany at the time.  His party was still number one in the 1932 election.  You are just going to have to learn to fucking deal with that.

As for this?

Quote:Trump believes in diplomacy over war.


This motherfucker is a criminal...even Australia denied him a casino license because of his known mob ties.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017...onnections

Quote:A bid by Donald Trump to build Sydney’s first casino was rejected 30 years ago after police expressed concerns about his links to the mafia.

News Corp revealed on Wednesday morning minutes of the New South Wales cabinet that show police had warned the state government against approving a 1986-87 bid by a Trump consortium to build and operate a casino in Darling Harbour.

Two points for Australia on that.  Trump believes in himself.  He doesn't give a flying fuck for anything other than enriching himself in whatever nefarious way he can.  Add in traitor and idiot and we have a serious problem over here because, oh yeah, the assholes in the red hats gave him the nuclear codes.

Wake up, man.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#16

Problems with the UK electoral system
(11-01-2019, 06:27 AM)Minimalist Wrote: In that Hitler and Trumpolini are quite similar:  Both were rejected by a majority and it took some parliamentary shenanigans in Hitler's case or electoral college bullshit in Trumps to bring them to power.  But both were "legal."

Hitler came to power because Papen (Catholic Zentrum) formed a coalition. Btw, it was also the Zentrum providing the necessary majority for the Enabling Act, granting Hitler ulitmate power by disabling certain paragraphs of the constitution.
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#17

Problems with the UK electoral system
Quote:UK election 2019: hundreds of thousands of people could be in the wrong place when it’s time to vote

The UK general election called for December 12 2019 raises important issues regarding who is entitled to vote, who will be able to vote – and where they will vote.

The electoral roll, which lists everyone eligible to vote in the nation, is re-compiled every autumn. Households are approached in late summer to indicate which of their members are entitled to vote. If they are already enrolled to vote there they remain registered. If they were not previously on the roll at that address, they are contacted individually to confirm their wish to do so.

The final roll is then compiled in December and comes into effect in the following February. If the individuals contacted have not responded, they are not registered. Until then, the electoral roll compiled in the previous year remains in force. People can of course apply to be registered in the intervening months if they are not on the roll for any reason, such as because they’ve moved – but they are not prompted to do so.

Those who reach the age of majority (18) during the period when the roll is operating are registered in the preceding autumn and gain the right to vote on their birthday.

So, for the December 2019 election, the electoral roll will have been compiled more than a year previously – in December 2018. The roll now being compiled will not yet be in force.

And on the FTPA (crossposting from the Brexit thread):

Quote:But University of Sydney constitutional law professor Professor Anne Twomey warned if it was not done right, Australia could encounter the same problem as the UK when trying to call an election to resolve the Brexit stalemate.

"In relation to Brexit, there was an argument that the government needed to be able to call an election to resolve deadlock in relation to Brexit and it was unable to do so unless it could convince the opposition to support an election motion or indeed, a vote of no confidence in it," Professor Twomey said.

"What they've been going through recently has been a consequence of that [fixed term] act, being enacted as a reaction to a coalition government where one party was concerned that the other party was going to drop it and go to an election whenever it's convenient to do so. And the fixed term parliament act was really the consequence and a reflection of that. It was not well drafted. It's got all sorts of horrible flaws in it."

One of those flaws is that the UK's act does not stop the prime minister from seeking a prorogation of Parliament in the 14 days after a vote of confidence, Professor Twomey said.

"In comparison, the NSW legislation does expressly prevent or negation in those circumstances. And indeed, I pointed that out to a UK parliamentary committee when they their bill being drafted. Nobody did anything about it," Professor Twomey said.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6...ht-expert/

My criticisms remain.

Our system is completely different. Once again this exposes a fatal flaw of optional voting. In Australia when an election is called, you have the opportunity to register to vote (in fact it's mandatory), if you're already registered you don't need to re-register. The AEC will update the electoral roll accordingly. You do not need to travel on election day - you can cast you ballot from anywhere in the country. If you're a truck driver who lives in Victoria and you're in Western Australia on polling day you can cast your vote there (not at *any* WA polling station the AEC website will tell you which ones are equipped for interstate voting).

The system that we have is designed to ensure everyone can vote on polling day. The system the UK has is not that at all. It's a poorly designed system.

Once again, compulsory voting is not just about telling people they have to vote - it requires governments to provide everyone the proper opportunity to vote. How can you vote, if you're suddenly being stalked or harassed and are afraid to go to your one and only assigned polling station? How can you vote if you need to make an unexpected business trip - or you've travelled for a funeral or some other emergency, or heck you're a fire-fighter sent to fight a fire out of your electorate, or you're a truck driver on the other side of the country, etc. The provisions in the UK for people in situations like these is completely inadequate. Polling day is the same day for everyone in the population, so while some of those circumstances may sound "unlikely" there *will* be people in those situations, and other situations which mean they are unexpectedly unable to get to "their" polling station on polling day.

Of course it doesn't solve everything, no one claims that it does, but nor is it a "band aid" that detractors claim that it is. In the vast majority of the cases I outlined above, people are able to cast their votes in Australia by going to the polling place of their choice, or by pre-polling. Both of those options are vastly superior to postal votes (not to mention cheaper), although postal votes will always play an important role as well. Both of those options are necessary because of compulsory voting. I've also talked about mobile polling for patients in hospital, people in prison who are eligible to vote, people in aged care, remote communities, and the homeless. Again this is necessary because some people are not going to be able to get to a polling station without assistance, assistance they may not be able to arrange themselves. And when all is said and done, in the UK do you really have the *right* to vote? Can you sue the government if they fail to provide you opportunity to vote?
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#18

Problems with the UK electoral system
So I'd like to mention problems with polling. I just saw this video, and with respect this lady is dead wrong when she says "there's nothing wrong with the polls":



She says (words to the effect) "well broadly they were right, they were just wrong by constituency, and actually the EU polls were spot on". She has masked one of the key problems with polling. Unless the UK pollsters are vastly different to Australia, the samples are mostly taken by mobile phone and online. And they usually just ask one or two questions - what age group and how are you likely to vote. UK obviously they will also ask "how likely are you to vote" a question not asked here.

It's blindingly obvious what they're not asking. And that is "which electorate (constituency) do you belong to?" In the old days when most polling was done by PTSN, the pollster knew exactly what electorate the household belonged to with 100% confidence. Of course there are people still registered at their old addresses in neighbouring electorates, or perhaps sometimes a visitor would answer the phone, but for the most part you could trust that most respondents were registered in the electorate their phone is in. With mobiles it's much less precise, and with internet it's even less precise. So you no longer have a reliable snapshot electorate by electorate. For the EU elections that's not a problem, because it's a proportional representation system so you only really need to know approximate location to be able to make good predictions assuming that your data sampling is good.

It should be noted this is exactly why the data wrongly showed that Hillary would beat Donald in 2016. The number of votes was more or less right, but they were not correctly identified to their electorates.

Now onto the next problem. The data sampling isn't good. It's not like the good old days of PTSN sampling, mobile sampling just doesn't capture the whole population in the same way. So the data needs to be adjusted to account for this. Furthermore in the Australian polls earlier this year there was an extreme amount of smoothing and herding that was noticed by statistician "Mark Graph" and others well before the election:

Quote:I must admit that the under-dispersion of the recent polls troubles me a little. If the polls were normally distributed, I would expect to see poll results outside of this one-point spread for each side. Because there is under-dispersion, I have wondered about the likelihood of a polling failure (in either direction). Has the under-dispersion come about randomly (unlikely but not impossible). Or is it an artefact of some process, such as online polling? Herding? Pollster self-censorship? Or some other process I have not identified?

To put this in layman's terms, all the major poll results we saw leading up to the May election showed signs of being artificially harmonised because if the voting intention was really 48.5% (two party preferred) for one particular side then (counter-intuitively) you would sample between 48-49% less than half the time with a sample size of 2,000. "The probability of 13 polls in a row at 48 or 49 per cent is 0.000059. This is actually slightly less likely than throwing 14 heads in a row." We never saw the raw numbers, the actual movement in voter intention was hidden because of pollster harmonisation. They don't want to put out polls that look different to everyone else's samples, so if it's within their margin of error they herd their results. Former pollster John Stirton also noticed it (in April 2018 - more than a year before the election):

Quote:From May to August last year there were six Newspolls in a row with that result: Coalition behind 47 per cent to 53 per cent. Such a run without any two-party preferred movement is unprecedented in the Newspoll brand's 33 year history (the previous record run was four in a row).

The fact is you would normally expect some random variation from one poll to the next with results clustered around the "true" result of 47 per cent-53 per cent.

It's worth remembering the best a poll can do is give a very good estimate of voting intentions. Estimates, based on samples, will mostly cluster within a percentage point or two of the "true" voting intention but occasionally an estimate can be further off, just by chance. Getting six polls in row with the same result is a long shot (a less than 1 per cent chance) even with the larger sample size - unless there is some sort of "smoothing" being applied. Smoothing techniques, such as rolling averages, are sometimes used, quite legitimately, to mask short-term fluctuations in surveys and highlight the underlying trends. The news reports do not mention any smoothing being applied to the Newspoll results.

Thankfully the UK polls do not look herded, but that isn't to say there isn't smoothing going on.

Anyway with all this said, the current opinion polls are very bad for Labour. And they do not have a steady ship either. They've come up with the most unpopular possible Brexit policy, that has one foot in the door, and one foot outside of it, and the electorate is not going to reward them for doing so - and that's in addition to the other issues with the party at the moment that has quite a bit of internal instability at the moment. I'd expect them to recover some of their lost votes throughout the campaign, but we shall see.
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