Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Do you support AV?

We may be hearing more about AV in the near future so it is worth knowing what it stands for. The Alternative Vote system is system in which voters list their favourite candidates in order. This is fairly easy to understand even if it is more complicated to count. However there are some first-past-the-post winners who would win in exactly the same way with AV, and that is those who have achiever over 50% of the vote. If this is not the case then the candidate at the bottom of the list gets their votes redistributed to the other candidates.

The problem with this is it isn't proportional representation. It doesn't help candidates who have the greatest support but it does help the candidates who is the least unpopular. I suppose this is an advantage in that the elected candidate knows that they are not the least popular for most voters. There is also an advantage in that more voters have a hand in electing an MP but this is hardly a ringing endorsement of AV. If we are going to bother to change then we should have a system that can relate the government of the day with the number of people who voted for it.

Change the world


  1. AV is the only change on the table for now. We can wait until we get another hung parliament in another 40 years or so, or we can grasp this opportunity, imperfect as it is, to at least put to bed the concepts of "tactical voting" and a "wasted vote". Preferential voting is also a stepping stone towards STV-MMC, so I don't think a move to AV is counter-productive in making the transition to a proper system. At least when we're arguing for the latter, we won't have to deal with "numbering candidates is so complicated, however will the dear old public cope!"

  2. So if (when?) it came down to a vote on it then, you will vote no?

    Not much of a believer in progress in incremental steps?

  3. Thanks for both comments. If AV is the only choice then I'll go for it, so I suppose you can put me down as a believer in progress in incremental steps.