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Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been.

"One man, one vote" they say. Hmmm - it's not really like that when it comes to elections, and it never really has been. After a lunchtime discussion yesterday, I started exploring various sites to learn what was going on while I waited for various long backups / downloads / upgrades to run. And I came up with a table listing some of the major changes over the years.

Who has the vote - UK, parliamentary elections.

c1430 - Men who had substantial property, usually in the form of land (local differences).
c1571 - removed Catholics (could no longer own land)
1778 - added Catholic men (as they could now own land again).
1832 - 10 pound worth of property (and male) to vote.
1867 - "All" male householders in towns aged 21 and over could now vote
1884 - "All" male householders in the counties aged 21 and over could now vote
1918 - added women over the age of 30 (but based on property or husband's property)
1918 - Abolished property qualifications for men (so "all" men 21 and over)
1928 - added remaining women on the same terms as men
1969 - "all" men and women aged 18 and over (add 18, 19, 20 year olds)
1985 - add voters who were abroad (by postal vote)
2000 - it became practical for homeless people to register and vote

I have quoted the word "all". It's still not every adult who's in the country, and "all" includes only:
• British Citizens
• Irish or 'qualifying' Commonwealth Citizens who are resident in the UK
Citizens of the remaining EU countries may register, and vote in local elections but not in general elections
and specifically exclude:
• Members of the House of Lords
• Those in prison
• People convicted of electoral malpractice in the last 5 years
• "Idiots" and "lunatics" only during lucid periods
excludes those compulsorily detainees in psychiatric hospitals, for example. Wording enshrined in law!

There's current discussion on some of this - should there be changes?
• Should prisoners have the right to vote?
• Should the voting age be reduced to 16?
And then you have some less mainstream ideas, suggestions and reflections
• Should mothers get extra votes on behalf of their under age children? [link] and [link]
• Why continue to disenfranchise members of the House of Lords?
• Is the nationality thing right as it stands? Why does a resident Cypriot get a vote, but not a resident American or Dane?

Plural votes - one person being able to cast several votes at a general election - was still in place 100 years ago. In those days, there were special University seats, as well as town and country seats. Some were qualified to vote in both University and Town seats, and did so. Others with business / property interests that were geographically spread qualified in multiple locations / seats too. I've seen a figure of 7% of votes / voters for 1918; the practise ended in 1928.

Compulsory voting - this is in the law in some countries, and actually enforced across much of South America and in Australia.

Opening a whole can of worms ...
* Some vote based on careful thought. On learning what the candidates are about, attending hustings, reading the manifestos, and much more.
* Some vote on the most trivial of reasons - "He's nice and tall" or "she has a lovely voice"
* Some make their own decisions, other vote based on how Mum / Dad / Older sibling / partner vote.
Should each of these votes really just have equal value? Doesn't the single vote system encourage the marketing of candidates, decisions based on shallow soundbites, and discourage the candidate who's got the best, but brave and difficult, platform ... the candidate we really need to help make the decisions for our nation?
(written 2012-01-26, updated 2012-01-28)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [4737] Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)


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