Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yes to AV or No to AV?

I was pretty certain a few weeks ago that the only way to vote in the referendum on the voting system in May was for the Alternative Vote. But I'm not so sure now.

If your candidate comes first but only just, he could still lose when other votes are redistributed. So those having second or third votes counted have trumped your one vote. That doesn't seem fair to me.

Furthermore we have a democracatic system based on constituences electing a representative for their areas. It is blindingly obvious then, that if you have more than two candidates there is a high possibility that the winner could be elected with less than 50% of the votes. AV means you have extra votes to botch a candidate over 50% who can't get 50% of people to support him otherwise. 

It seems to me that with AV the vote could be skewed by people voting to keep another candidate out much more easily than it can under FPTP. Therefore FPTP, under our system, seems fairer than AV. Of course there is the whole deate about Proportional Representation to have, but not now.

If I have the following candidates:

Labour
Tory
Lib Dem
UKIP
BNP
Green
Libertarian

There is only one candidate I would want to vote for. I could never bring myself to vote for the others just because I can when I don't support them or their policies. I am therefore immediately disadvantaged by those who may vote for all seven, two or something in between.

It seems to me that tinkering with the system isn't going to suddenly make people want to rush out and vote if they don't already. It will just create a mirage that democracy has been reinvigorated because a candidate got over 50%. In other words it's a con, they just kept shuffling the pack until the magical 50% was reached.

I am still open to being convinced, but nothing I've heard from the Yes campaign has persuaded me yet. Indeed the Yes campaign are the ones who have made me wonder about voting yes to AV ironically.

4 comments:

fraggle said...

There is only one candidate I would want to vote for. I could never bring myself to vote for the others just because I can when I don't support them or their policies. I am therefore immediately disadvantaged by those who may vote for all seven, two or something in between.

How so? If it was an FPTP ballot and no-one you could support had entered you would abstain because you just don't care who wins, correct?

The situation is no different in AV. In every round that your man is still in the running, you vote for him. If he gets eliminated, then by expressing no second preference you're abstaining, just as you would do if he hadn't entered. You not *caring* about what happens next is not an disadvantage to you.

Gregg said...

Of course I am disadvantaged. Other peoples' 2nd, 3rd etc votes outvote my 1 vote. Therefore they hav an advantage over me. My vote carries less power. Simple really, one man one vote.

You are playing cards where one person has a bigger hand than you and can constantly trump you. Of coure it will be ok for nerds and anoraks to play games with and will encourage rather than discourage tactical voting.

Dancez said...

I appreciate your dilemma but try looking at it this way. Every AV winner is acceptable to 50% of the voters whereas two-thirds of FPTP winners (in the 2010 election) were acceptable to less than 50% and sometimes less than 30% of the voters.

Although you say you can only accept one candidate from the list, other people will be willing to accept more than one. Is it fair to restrict them to one?

Both systems are one man one vote but the AV system allows the one vote to be transferred. It's a very clever system that gets a fair result without repeated ballots.

Alternative choices are only used when the winner is not a clear winner.

I myself am content with 3 of the parties although I currently prefer them in a 1,2,3 order. AV allows me to express precisely how I feel and not be limited to a single choice.

It's not a fair system currently because most MPs are not liked by the majority.

You're not disadvantaged because like everyone you have the same right to vote for multiple candidates. If your man wins with more than 50% of first round votes, it makes no difference. If your man loses despite winning the first round, a more popular winner may emerge, whoever the majority can accept. That has to be fairer.

FPTP is ideal for choosing between two parties but we now have multiple parties so we need a better system that considers the full preferences for all voters.

Gregg said...

It should be renamed the Spoilt Brat System. My candidate didn't win so keep shuffling the cards until I find the result acceptable.

Democracy is ONE MAN ONE VOTE.

All it really means is that the candidate who still didn't get 50% of the vote can get in as the least hated candidate. If you don't get 50% on the first count you still get in with less than 50%, it's just been made to look like you got 50%. Simple really.