Vote swapping is an idea that people in the UK are only likely to have recently heard of. In the US it was huge during the presidential elections, but before now, a vote has been a very sacred thing in Britain. A lot of people are very proud to vote and it’s not something that’s ever been considered interchangeable until 2015.
This year it seems a group of anti-Tories are determined to do everything they can to keep them out for a second stint at Number 10, by encouraging left voters to switch sides.
VoteSwap is a site that’s been setup to facilitate tactical voting, where voters could be persuaded to exchange their vote with someone else, and vote for another left sided party that they do not support in order to prevent another Conservative government.
Although considered a perversion of the democratic system, it’s been acknowledged as an effective system for preventing the success of hated parties.
To those on the left of British politics, the enemy is pretty clear, and the threat of another term in government is enough to get even the proudest voters to consider voting tactically.
As a general rule, the only way to thwart Tory chances of another term in office, is to vote Labour. Lib Dems cannot be counted because they’ve lost a lot of support since actively propping up a Conservative government. So that really just leaves the Greens.
It’s the Greens, together with Labour that make VoteSwap possible. Although the two parties essentially stand against each other, many Labour and Green voters share similar values – including the fact that they don’t want a Conservative leader at No 10.
VoteSwap involves putting your postcode or constituency into its website and you’ll be given advice on the best way to vote in your area – this doesn’t always result in a vote swap.
If you live in an area of a Labour seat but the winning margin was only small during the last election, you’ll be advised not to swap votes and, instead, to vote Labour or Green according to your preference.
In areas of Tory or Lib Dem control, where Labour have a large chance of winning the seat, the site will advise you to vote Labour and, if you’re a green supporter, swap your vote with a Labour supporter willing to vote Green in another constituency.
Although seemingly a good idea for lefties looking to prevent any kind of Tory majority, it’s not something that’s been gratefully received by everyone. This is especially the case in voters who are proud to vote for a party that they believe in, rather than maybe picking the best of a bad bunch, as some people have suggested.
The entire British politics system is not something that can be covered in a single blog post, but if it’s something you wish to know more about, so that you can make a truly educated vote, why not try out one of our politics home learning courses?