We need an organic reform based on sound, Conservative principles; the Single Transferable Vote is that system. Neither a European Party List system, nor First Past The Post, the Single Transferable Vote delivers proportional parliaments whilst keeping the all-important constituency link.
The Conservative Solution
No electoral system is perfect. Some are, however, far better than others. Conservative Action for Electoral Reform has long supported the Single Transferable Vote (STV) as the ideal system, not just because it delivers proportionality, but also because it does so by recognising conservative values.
It is of utmost importance that candidates should be elected on their own merits, and not ride on the shirt tales of others' popularity. A healthy parliamentary party is one where each and every member can be held accountable to their constituents, and removed by them if they individually fail. On this principle the STV is more effective than First Past the Post (FPTP), as voters in a region are represented by a small group of MPs, each elected on their own merits. If one MP slacks, betrays the constituency's wishes or become embroiled in a personal scandal, at the election voters may if they wish simply vote for a different candidate from the same party, replacing the troublesome MP, without harming the party they support.
We wouldn't tolerate an economy where two companies, with state support, hold a duopoly of the market. STV gives voters a free choice of political ideas, not just between parties but within them. Under the STV, the party can put up a slate of candidates reflecting a local association's diversity of opinion, allowing voters to choose the Conservative candidates and ideas they like the most – in many cases attracting people who don't usually vote Conservative.
Unlike party list systems or FPTP, where candidates must remain loyal to party elites to retain their candidacy, under STV individual candidates compete for support from voters not just against those from other parties but also those from their own. This ensures a party's hardest working and most ideologically popular candidates in each area win and keep their seats.
Unlike party list systems, STV is a candidate-centred proportional system, made in Britain. It is already used in the UK in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and used to be used for University Seats in the House of Commons before the Labour party scrapped them. Around the world in former colonies and territories STV was adopted, including in Tasmania, the Republic of Ireland, Malta and many American cities.
How does it work?
[youtube id="l8XOZJkozfI" maxwidth="600" align="left"] Much as we have multiple seat wards in some local elections in England, under STV, each constituency elects multiple MPs. So we don't have thousands of MPs, the constituencies are larger. An STV constituency that elects 3 MPs would be the size of three FPTP constituencies. Rather than putting an X by the candidates they want to elect, the voter simply numbers them in order. They can order as many or as few as they want, including candidates from other parties.
Each voter gets one vote, which can transfer from their first-preference to their second-preference and so on, as necessary. Candidates need a set share of the votes to get elected. In a three-member seat, you need a quarter of the votes plus one. Thus, in an area currently represented by three Labour MPs but where the Conservatives regularly poll over a quarter of the vote, one of those three seats would turn blue!
If your preferred candidate has no chance of being elected or has enough votes already, your vote is transferred to another candidate in accordance with your instructions. STV thus ensures that very few votes are wasted, unlike other systems, especially FPTP, where only a small number of votes actually contribute to the result.