Friday, 22 April 2011

The AV Referendum: A Question

Why is it First Past The Post? Wouldn't listing one's preferences on the ballot paper be fairer? Wouldn't both sides in the debate have to "work harder" to represent more people's opinions?

10 comments:

nationalconversationforengland said...

That would be all right if AV adequately reflected everyone's preferences, which it doesn't, because lots of people's (most people's) second preferences aren't counted at all. You'd have to adopt a system such as Bucklin voting or score voting (of which my ARV system is a variant) to achieve that.

Brian said...

I would prefer a type of range voting. Anything that makes MPs less tied to Parties and more to their constituents. Mandatory referendums on constitutional changes.

Brian said...

To clarify matters, why should the actual AV Referendum be a tick in the box of choice and not preferential ranking?

Richard said...

I first heard of AV when I was at Uni back in the early 70s and liked the idea. I still do, and I think it has a lot to recommend it. But when you look at the people who are in favour, I tend to think that voting against is a moral duty. After all, who believes that if the Lib Dems were to find electoral advantage in a voting system involving beheading chickens and reading the entrails that they wouldn't be pressing for 'fairer votes' on that basis?

Agreed that the link between MP and constituent must be primary and the influence of parties less, which is why I am firmly against 'proper' PR. And yes to more referendums - membership of the EU would be a start.

nationalconversationforengland said...

Sorry, Brian; I didn't understand you were referring to the voting method for the referendum itself. That would make sense only if there were more than two choices. By implication, though, the option that voters don't put a cross next to is their 'second preference'; so in a sense, the winning system could be said to have the support of every single person who voted (if you follow the AV logic).

Brian said...

By the way, I'm very impressed with your blog so I'm unilaterally linking.

Richard said...

"By the way, I'm very impressed with your blog so I'm unilaterally linking"

Have done so too.

One point in response to "most people's second preferences aren't counted at all". I suppose it's possible to argue that those who vote for the winning candidate get as many votes as the rest - one for their candidate, and then another one (and another ...) on the second and subsequent rounds. The diffrerence is that their votes aren't redistributed, but added afresh to the 'top' candidate's pile. After all, their votes aren't binned if it goes to round 2 - they are counted for the *first* choice candidate for a *second* time.

nationalconversationforengland said...

Thanks for the unilateral links. I'm sorry, I'm really rubbish with the links on my site, and there are a lot of sites I ought to link to: I must get that organised when I can find the time.

Richard, you make a good point about the multiple votes. But it depends how you want to look at it. If you think of AV as multi-round FPTP, then you're right: people whose first preferences are still in the race get to vote for them again at each round. But if you look at it as a preferential system (which is how the Yes camp is trying to sell it), then if there's a stalemate after all the first preferences are counted, then all the second preferences should be counted equally. That would provide a stronger and more consistent result, based on everyone's higher preferences.

Brian said...

@ncfe: I link to other blogs because they are high quality and I enjoy reading them, not to get extra traffic 'cos I don't advertise.
Your blog has provided the quality information about the referendum that I want but that the MSM has failed to provide.

Thud said...

Regardless of the electoral system chosen couldn't the lying bastards just do what we almost have to beg them to do...make life easier for us...we who pay their wages and not some third world murderers and savages.