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LEYTON: Reporter leading campaign to change voting system

December 28, 2010 11:57 AM

A 25-year-old Leyton man is leading a campaign to change the voting system.

James Cracknell, of Colville Road, is part of the Yes To Fairer Votes campaign in Newham and Waltham Forest, which is aiming to persuade local people to vote in favour of the alternative vote system in a referendum next year.

Mr Cracknell, a reporter with a west London paper, said: "It started around the time of the general election and after the election there was a campaign called Take Back Parliament.

"From there the campaign became what it is today in around August and it is about trying to change the system so everybody feels like their vote counts."

The current first past the post voting system is a winner-take-all system whereby the person with the most votes wins.

But critics argue it does not necessarily represent the choice of the majority of voters.

With the alternative vote system, the electorate are asked to rank each of the candidates in terms of preference.

Mr Cracknell said: "Under the current system if you vote for a candidate that doesn't win, your vote is basically not counted, it's a wasted vote.

"My constituency was a safe seat for John Cryer so if you voted for anyone else it was a wasted vote and your opinion was ignored.

"AV is not the perfect answer but it is 100 per cent better than what we have and it allows you to express an opinion about each candidate."

Mr Cracknell, who voted Green last time around, is one of about 300 local campaign coordinators up and down the country.

His job is to organise events and help spread the group's message in a bid to get as many people to vote 'yes' as possible.

The referendum is likely to be held on May 5 next year.

The first Yes To Fairer Votes campaign stall will be held outside Leytonstone Tube station, in Church Lane, tomorrow between 11am and 1pm.

Anyone who wants to join the campaign can get in touch with Mr Cracknell at cracksmyth85@hotmail.com

See article and photo in Waltham Forest Guardian Newspaper - Thursday 16th December 2010 -