Democratically electing your representatives is supposed to be a simple process.

People put themselves forward for election and the population decides who they think would be best to run the country and they get the job, right?

Wrong. On May 6, in the elections for the Scottish Parliament the strategy is as much about who you don’t want as who you do want.

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The second vote, Additional Member System, is supposed to reflect the number of votes cast for parties who don’t get voted in on the constituency vote.

In its purest sense everyone would vote for the same party they vote for on the fist vote and they would get a proportionate number of MSPs elected.

But many smaller parties don’t stand on the first vote as they know they won’t win or don’t have the resources for a campaign, so they target the second vote instead.

In Glasgow, in half of the eight constituencies there are just the four parties fielding candidates, the SNP, Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

The Greens are standing in three seats, Kelvin, Provan and Pollok.

Glasgow Times:

There are nine candidates in Pollok and eight in Southside.

When it come to the party list vote however, there are no fewer than 23 parties or independent candidates looking for your vote.

They include the Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party, a few others who are either for or against independence judging by the party names.

There are those who always stand but never get anywhere near elected, like the Communist Party of Britain and UKIP who, not content with just Brexit, has their sights on devolution so they are listed on the ballot paper as ‘Ukip get rid of Holyrood’.

There are others too, promoting their values, like the Women’s Equality Party.

The newest entrant into the electoral game in Scotland, the Alba Party is targeting second votes, and those of one party in particular, the SNP.

They want all SNP voters to give the new party their second vote so they get more pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood at the expense of parties that are opposed to independence.

The flaw here is it could also affect the Greens who as a party are also pro-independence and in some regions could even affect the number of SNP MSPs.

They want people to avoid looking too closely at those who are standing and think only about independence. Don’t look to closely into the past of some of the candidates and the calibre of person you are electing, just the fact that they support independence is all you need to consider.

They want to ignore the fact that there are other parties on the regional list who support independence that you could give your vote to and vote for this one party instead.

In doing so they are trying to “game the system”.

The Holyrood voting system was designed to ensure as much as possible that no one party gets a huge majority. It should reflect the proportionality of support for each party that exists in the country.

Glasgow Times:

Equally that should, as a by-product, apply to single issues that, where opinion in the country is split, the election system should produce a result that is not too dissimilar.

It doesn’t always work. In 2011 it resulted in a majority of SNP MSPs, the only time in the five elections that has happened.

It also produces a majority of MSPs who are in favour of independence than opposed to it. But not massively so.

Alex Salmond wants to produce a result that ends up with around 75% of pro independence MSPs in a country where currently the split in the population is probably 50/50 given all the polls.

Most SNP supporters still vote SNP on both ballot papers.

Some vote Green. Leading to people to think that the Greens only exist in Holyrood because SNP supporters lend them their votes.

They forget that because the Greens don’t stand in as many constituencies many of their supporters lend the SNP their first vote and not all Greens are independence supporters and if they are, it is not their overriding priority.

There are many people in different parties trying to get people to vote for someone you don’t necessarily believe in but on the basis that they are not as bad as the other guys.

The Tories want an tactical voting alliance of sorts with Labour and LibDems to try and stop more SNP MSPs being elected to counter the possible impact of Alba, should it proves successful.

Glasgow Times:

Those who are asking the electorate to consider these tactics and want to game the system are doing just that, playing games.

And it is the voters that they are playing games with.

They seem to forget it is the voters who are in charge when it comes to elections.

So here’s an idea.

It might be naïve but how about we just take a good look at the parties and the candidates, their policies, what they do as much as what they say and then make our own minds up and vote for who we want to see elected.

Elections are the opportunity for the people to make their voices heard not the politicians.