Casting a vote in the House of Commons is a physical activity, says Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin
Voting is at the heart of the political process. Votes cast by many people for candidates build that crucial bond of accountability that makes democracy such a powerful, responsive form of government.
Postal ballot papers for the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner elections fell through letterboxes last weekend.
It is quite outrageous that more than £100 million is being spent on these elections when that money could be better spent on frontline policing.
Worse still, elections are being held on November 15, when the nights are drawing in and the weather is challenging.
And if that wasn't bad enough the voting system is different from what we are used to – with the opportunity to give votes for your first and second choice.
So there is likelihood of a very low turnout and a lot of spoilt ballots! Not good for democracy or legitimacy for a post that will be crucially important in setting the priorities for policing.
I will be voting for Labour's John Prescott – Deputy Prime Minister in a government that worked with the police and other key partners to bring about the biggest reduction in crime in my lifetime.
Since he has been the candidate in this election I have been impressed by his energy and his willingness to listen to local people about their priorities.
He has made it clear that, if elected, he will work with key partners to maximise crime reduction across the whole of Humberside.
Voting in the House of Commons is a very physical activity; you take your whole body through the corridor that is called the voting lobby and as you pass through the doors the tellers (a government and opposition whip) count you through. As a Labour Whip making sure people are there to vote and encouraging them to vote in line with party policy is an important part of the job.
Ultimately, however, I believe every MP has a duty to vote with their conscience on each issue. Which is what leads to exciting moments like the one last week when the Commons voted for a reduction in the EU budget, defeating the Government who wanted an increase.
When household budgets are being squeezed and budgets cut at home it is right that the EU budget should also be reduced.
The Chamber was very full with bodies crushed together in the lobbies. Everybody knew the vote would be close as we'd all been working hard to maximise our numbers but we had no idea who had won.
It wasn't until the whips lined up in front of the Speaker and it was clear that the Tory rebel Peter Bone was going to read out the result that we realised the government had lost its first important vote.
By the time you read this another close vote should be decided – we should know who has won the US elections (Barack Obama). The choice of the next US President will impact on the world in ways we can only speculate. Whoever it is we should wish him well.