Vote Swap is a good way for us to play the system

In an ideal world, we’d like to put forward a vote for the party that we’d like to see win the election. In an ideal world, our vote would always count. Unfortunately, we live in a world of the First Past the Post system, and neither of those two options are viable, as much as we’d like to think they are. In this system, we have to play the game the best we can, and if you’re left-wing (like most students), Vote Swap appears to be a pretty good way to play it.

This works on the basis that the people who want to vote Green or Labour and don’t want another Tory government type their postcode into the website, and it tells them how safe the seat is. If it’s a Labour target seat, a Labour voter votes Labour and a Green voter swaps their vote with someone in another constituency and votes Labour to keep the Tories out. In some areas, you can vote for who you want if it’s being targeted by both Labour and Green.

So essentially, this is a comprehensive calculation of where you can use your vote most effectively if you don’t want to see a Tory government in power for another five years. Of course, this is all largely dependent on you being left-wing, so apologies to any right-wing students among us. The theory can be applied to other parties, except there’s no website helping you along.

A new website helps you decide whether to cast your vote in your constituency or another.

A new website helps you decide whether to cast your vote in your constituency or another.

It’s obvious why some people don’t like this Vote Swap idea. This election has been blown open to an extent we’ve never seen before, and it seems like now we can finally vote for who we really want to vote for, instead of voting for the lesser of two evils to keep ‘the other one’ out.  Unfortunately, this also means that it’s the closest election in years, and we’re not necessarily that far away from a Tory/UKIP coalition government. This is the chance to create the most real change in decades, but it’s also open to creating a lot of misery, and in that sense the election is the same as it always has been – people need to vote together to keep those who could do damage out of power.

Essentially, it is a comprehensive calculation of where you can use your vote most effectively if you don’t want to see a Tory government in power for another five years.

The thing that has changed is that we’re not voting for a government like we were in the last election. We’re voting for a coalition, and we have to decide which parties we want to see work together. Even if you don’t agree with all of their policies, I think that Labour and Green will pull the country in the right direction – left.

For students, the Vote Swap is particularly important, as we have a choice as to whether we cast our vote in our home constituency or in Leeds. This gives us an opportunity to choose where our vote will matter the most, and shows that for students over everyone else, tactical voting is important. This is the best way for our voice to be heard in a system that seems determined to drown us out, and playing the system now means that hopefully we never have to play it again if an electoral reform is passed.

To check out the Vote Swap website, click here.

Beth Galey

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