Fair votes from students!

So the main responsibility of the New Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will be constitutional issues. I wish him well in the job, there are, without doubt, a number of constitutional anomalies in the current, so called democratic, system that we have desperate need to sort out.

There is one glaring anomaly that Clegg probably won't even think about changing The Corrupt Student Vote.

Nick won't deal with it because it has benefited his party for the last two elections.

Residential students can register to vote in both their home constituency (at their parents address) AND in their collage constituency (their hall of residence or lodgings address).

Despite the presidential style of last week's election, where we were fed the line that we were electing a Prime Minister, the fact is that the election was about electing 650 constituency representatives.

In many of those constituencies the residential student vote made the difference between which candidate was elected and which was defeated. Up to a third of those students whose votes made the difference will move out of the constituency within the next month and a half. If we have a five year fixed parliament 90% of the students will have left, leaving both locals and new students with an MP who may not represent them.

Much worse than the fact that student voters vote for a local candidate, when they know that they are about to up sticks and burden a constituency with an MP, whom they will not have to suffer for much longer, is the fact that in reality students have two votes.

There is no way to cross reference that a student registered in both Oxford and Barmouth hasn't voted twice. If s/he has been inspired to vote the chances are that s/he did vote twice.

I can't find a reference but I have heard anecdotal claims that the Tories could have got an overall majority for want of 16,000 votes in the right constituencies, and Labour could have won with 40,000 extra votes! I don't know if these figures are correct, but the potential difference that a small minority of the 1.9 million UK students voting twice could make may be very significant!

Sorry Nick, but the student vote that you have chased so vigorously over the last two elections is fundamentally corrupt, if you really want to clean up politics get rid of the two vote student's vote!


  1. The Conservatives promised to restore the University Seats which the Labour Administration had abolished in 1950, but failed to do so.

    Admittedly the system was in need of reform (e.g. Oxford and Cambridge (and indeed Wales) did rather better out of it than the other English universities) but it was notable for using Single Transferable Vote (how topical). Perhaps Mr Cameron could be persuaded to make good the pledge his party reneged on ....

  2. Why not just have the election out of term time? Would avoid the whole problem.

  3. Sir Watkin, students didn't vote for the university members, graduate alumni did (and they were permitted to vote twice). Of course when the university seats were abolished in 1950 the student vote was insignificant because the voting age was 21 and most undergraduates were under 21, the student vote only became a problem after 1969 when the age of majority was reduced to 18.

  4. Anon, If the Lid Dems get their proposed fixed parliament reform through, elections will always be held in term time.

  5. I know. I was making a joke.

  6. What would you propose though?
    Students should be allowed to vote, and it would be more difficult to vote at home if the election occurs during term time. The students are alwayys present in the seat, even if one group leaves, another replaces them. I do find it unfair that in places like Ceredigion students have so much sway in the vote, gainst local people. Maybe reintroduction of university seats would be a good thing. However wouldnt they just be ultra safe Lib Dem seats (At least prior to this coalition)?

    I do though belive that students should only be allowed to register at one place, and generally for the sake of fair elections in more than just this respect, there need to be more checks on the electoral roll, as fraud is currently to easy to commit.

  7. Being registered at two places and only voting in one place also affect the turnout rate in the other.

  8. EmlynUwchCych16/05/2010, 20:43

    This issue has troubled me in marginals for the past few elections. One way is to check for double voting:

    Political parties are all sent lists of postal and proxy voters in advance. The postal votes lists have the addresses to which ballots are sent.

    Marked registers are available after an election. Alternatively, parties can appoint polling agents to observe the poll. Therefore, parties can check if a voter has both been sent a postal ballot and voted at their term time address.

    If someone is serious about stopping this, some basic detective work allowed by RPA 1983 could lead to a couple of highly publicised prosecutions.

    I'm sure that if some students were found guilty, pour encourager les autres, the little buggers wouldn't try double voting again!