As UK voters prepare to take to the polls in the 2017 general election, we profile 5 initiatives that aim to make votes count for more
1. More United
Setting party politics aside, crowdfunded project More United supports candidates based on their values. Their general election fund has so far raised nearly £230,000 and everyone who donates gets a say on which candidates the money will help. More United’s values are: opportunity, tolerance, democracy, environment and openness. The name comes from the maiden speech delivered by the late Jo Cox MP, who said “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
Know your values but still not sure which party best represents you? This straightforward quiz aims to help students make up their mind on who to vote for. The website also allows students to compare their home and university postcodes to see where they should cast their ballot to give their vote the most impact.
3. Vote Smart
Tactical voting information aggregator Vote Smart recommends who left-leaning voters should opt for, based on their postcodes. “If you want the safety net of a more balanced parliament, they say, ‘the best way to make a difference is by voting for the opposition party most likely to win.”
Drawing on their own research and using crowdfunded cash, this project runs ‘awareness raising’ campaigns in marginal constituencies and targets groups including pensioners and parents.
4. Swap My Vote
Using social media to pair up those willing to vote tactically for each others parties, Swap My Vote aims to help reclaim ‘wasted votes’. In 2015, according to the Swap My Vote team, half of all votes were for losing candidates and therefore received no direct representation in parliament. “Swap it with someone in a constituency where it will count for more,” reads the site. “You get to vote for who you really want, and to help someone else do the same.”
5. Progressive Alliance
For those with views on the left of the political spectrum who are tempted to vote tactically, Progressive Alliance has created an online tool to do the number-crunching for you. In an effort to subvert what the project describes as an “unfair electoral system”, users can enter their postcode to see which party has the greatest chance of causing a local upset. “We’ve got to put aside the old tribal politics,” they say.
Featured image: Shepard Fairey artwork in San Francisco. Credit: Michael Pittman
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