A Conversation for Voting in the UK - Your Voter Number

Transparent systems

Post 1

His Nibbs

Surely, in a perfectly transparent system, all information would be capable of being extracted. Because we have an "anonymous" ballot, it is only most of the information is readable at first pass, which is why it isn't perfectly transparent.

Now this isn't to challenge the rightness of the anonymous ballot, but if you believe in something enough to put your vote behind it, you should be happy for someone to identify "you" as the individual voter who put their X wherever. If being identified as pro-whatever, is enough to put you off voting for it, it hardly seems like you agree with it.

Before we go off into debate about "Mugabe: YES 100%" elections, I would say we are debating the British system. If we Britons see our civil liberties being eroded we should do something about it, instead of likening our situation to a radically different one.

Transparent systems

Post 2

Vestboy II not playing the Telegram Game at U726319

I know of some families where the mum and dad vote differently - but don't tell one another. Despite my fascination with it I understand that politics and its discussion can raise blood pressure and cause many arguments.

Some people want their anonymity to preserve their marriage/friendships/sanity as much as anything else. Some people feel threatened that Canvassers know their name before they even come to the door.

In some areas, where there are deep political divisions, the knowledge of your vote could lead to victimisation and possibly violence and people may be strong enough to vote for a cause they believe in but not fight for it. I don't think this lessens them as people.

Transparent systems

Post 3

His Nibbs

Fair point well made.

I wasn't considering that angle to it. I guess it is idealistic of me to think that everyone should happily let everyone else have their own mind and opinions. That said I certainly 'rein in' my opinions in my office at work, just to avoid strife, which is much the same thing as you're describing.

But, in a civil society isn't it deplorable that anyone should feel frightened to show an opinion? I disagree with my co-workers on many political matters, but we generally get along.

I would rather we lived in a society where you could air your views freely, without fear of repercussions, and the anonymous ballot would be unneccessary.

Transparent systems

Post 4


Several thoughts on this very good piece.

1) It is not a secret ballot. Your identity by way of voter-number is entered next to the numbered list of ballot papers given out. Ballot papers are kept under electoral law for a year and a day following the election. The electorate takes it on trust that these are left alone.

2) If you don't vote then you forfeit the right to complain.

3) If there is no-one worth voting for (as I find in the current London Mayoral elections) the deposit to stand as an independent is astronomical. (I understand that it is not the done thing for me to give here my URL on this matter reiterating that this is an affront to democracy). It is especially galling when there are deeply unpleasant people who CAN afford it.

4) As Mr Livingstone advised in the 1980s, if there is no-one you want to vote for you can always spoil your paper by writing "I don't think much of any of these". You have at least shown your willingness to vote, and will be included in the turnout figures.

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