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  • Since we moved into the neighborhood last February, we didn't know where the polling station was,

    In the UK, particularly during the term of the last Conservative government, many career politicians seemed to become troubled by the fact that the expected swing away from their pary would cause their majorities to evaporate, and hence they would loose their seats at the next election. So many did the "chicken run", abandoning their former constituencies and parachuting themselves into safe seats where (usually) the incumbent MP was retiring at the election.

    (We don't get as much of what seems to be the standard US solution to this problem - change parties to stay in office)

    I really don't like this. MPs are supposed to represent their constituents, not further their careers in Politics. Not only has a chicken run MP already demonstrated a lack of commitment to constituents (they've already ditched one lot; will you be next?) but it's quite likely they have no knowledge about your constituency, and based on behaviour they probably don't care about it (it's not as if they were actually trying to get elected to serve you).

    So I'm proposing a parachute test:

    1. The prospective MP is parachuted into their new constituency. Somewhere. (OK, you can simulate this bit by blindfolding them and dropping them off somewhere)
    2. They have to make their way to a location in that constituency used as a polling station.
    3. without ever crossing the constituency boundary and leaving the constituency en route.

    If they ever cross outside the constuency before reaching a polling station they are out, and are disqualified from representing the constituency. They are accompanied by an independent srutineer. (Remember, we have independant returning officers. Not like some coutries, where all the election officials make things transparent by declaring which party they are affiliated. transparent != fair). I'm not quite sure of the rest of the rules. I think they have to announce to the scrutineer when they think they've reached the site of a polling station. I'm not sure if they get fail immediately if they get that wrong (probably not) but I don't know how many goes they get at that before restarting, or how long before they time out, or if they re-run. They probably are allowed to ask anyone they meet questions, as most people are sufficiently ignorant about boundaries or locations (60% turnout at general elections must mean that many people have no idea where their polling station is), and this would actually force the prospective MP to talk to their constituents. (Something, given my experience of a chicken run MP, is the last thing they want to do). Although I suspect that they'd only be allowed to open conversations with passers-by with the words "I'm your prospective $conservative canditate" to make sure the person being asked gets a chance to give them an earful back about what the government is doing wrong.