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]
• 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 articlesZ300 - Politics and Religion 
Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15) 
Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25) 
Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15) 
MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23) 
General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05) 
Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16) 
UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27) 
Sad priorities - (2005-06-03) 
A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14) 
Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20) 
Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15) 
Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19) 
Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26) 
rich and famous - (2005-12-23) 
MP face to face - (2006-02-12) 
On being British - (2006-02-14) 
Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05) 
Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07) 
Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12) 
Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23) 
Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07) 
Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27) 
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22) 
Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05) 
Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21) 
What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01) 
False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15) 
Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05) 
Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03) 
An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27) 
An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06) 
FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13) 
New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10) 
Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11) 
Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01) 
Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14) 
Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17) 
Back from the future - (2008-07-30) 
July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23) 
Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05) 
Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13) 
Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14) 
One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11) 
The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29) 
Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06) 
Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11) 
Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12) 
Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29) 
Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25) 
Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05) 
Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11) 
Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15) 
All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13) 
How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18) 
Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23) 
A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08) 
Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26) 
Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06) 
Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09) 
Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03) 
A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25) 
Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06) 
Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10) 
Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14) 
Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07) 
Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26) 
Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14) 
Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25) 
What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30) 
Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11) 
The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14) 
Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13) 
Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31) 
2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17) 
Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21) 
How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27) 
On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11) 
Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04) 
Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16) 
Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08) 
Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12) 
Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06) 
Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16) 
Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29) 
Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04) 
Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08) 
Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22) 
Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18) 
PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04) 
Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19) 
Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02) 
Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06) 
The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23) 
Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22) 
Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
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