Why your vote is never wasted in a P.R election as long as you vote for a second or third etc preference too

These elections are under P.R - so your vote won't be wasted if you vote for me as first preference even if i don't win, it'll go to your second or third or fourth choice - and how to vote in a PR election

ballot-box.jpg

Many people only vote for the major parties at elections due to the belief that a vote for any smaller party or independent candidate is "a wasted vote" as they can't win. Under the proportional representation system used in local elections in Scotland today though, your vote can't be wasted as long as you make second, third, fourth etc choices when voting.

Voting under PR is as easy as 1,2,3 - you write the number 1 in the box next the name of the candidate whose your first choice, the one you'd most like to be elected, then you can write 2 in the box next to your second choice's name, 3 in the box next to your third choice and so on.

Even if your first choice isn't elected, your vote will still count. If your 'first preference' candidate (the candidate whose name you wrote a number '1' in the box next to on the ballot (voting paper)) doesn't get enough votes to be elected, your vote will go to your second choice instead (the candidate whose name you wrote a number 2 in the box next to). If they don't get enough votes it goes to your third choice (number 3) and so on.

So you can vote for me in this election without having to worry about wasting your vote. (The same goes for the small party candidates standing in the ward)

For instance if you would like it best if i won, if your second choice would be an SNP candidate and your third choice Labour, write a number 1 in the box next to my name, a number 2 next to one of the SNP candidates' names and number 3 next to the Labour candidate's name. (As there are two SNP candidates you might e.g vote for me as 1, one SNP candidate as 2, the second as 3, Labour as 4). (This is just an example - i'm not telling you how to vote - that's your choice.)

You don't have to vote for anyone except your first choice. If you only want to vote for one candidate you just put a number 1 in the box next to their name and nothing else - but if you don't make 2nd, 3rd or 4th etc choices, your vote may not count if the person you voted for doesn't get enough votes to be elected.

There were three Independent candidates elected in wards in South Lanarkshire in the last council elections in 2007 - which proves independents can be elected.

The last local elections in South Lanarkshire in 2007 (also under PR) resulted in no single party having an overall majority of council seats. The Lib Dems held only two seats. They are likely to lose both after Nick Clegg's betrayal of the people who voted for him, with polls showing three quarters of people polled who said they voted Lib Dem in 2010 saying they would not do so again. So there is a serious possibility that Independent and small party candidates could end up holding the balance of power in South Lanarkshire after this election.

What's more, even if I don't win a significant number of votes for me could influence the bigger parties towards adopting some of my policies if they see they could gain votes if they do - and lose them if they don't - and the percentage of people voting for small parties and independents increases at every election.

Carluke West is a multi-member ward, meaing it elects more than one councillor - in it's case four candidates will be elected (or re-elected) as Councillors. Any candidate who gets a quarter of the votes cast is elected.

When votes are counted the candidate with the least first preference votes will be eliminated first and their second preference votes given to their second preference candidates and so on until four councillors are elected.