by markjohnston on 30 April, 2011
With the AV referendum it’s a choice between the status quo – clinging on to power, and voting YES for a fairer democratic system.
The NO arguments just don’t stand up to scrutiny:
Strong Government? I believe in a strong government and that is one that has taken the trouble to write a manifesto that will get at least the second preference of 50% of the voters.
Voter engagement. AV asks more questions of the voter. It gets more information about what the voter’s views on the candidates are. How can one argue that you engage less with someone with AV when the ‘dialogue’ such as it is, is more detailed?
One person one vote. To say that if someone starts voting for the ultimate winner their vote is only counted once is patently ludicrous. Everyone’s vote is counted the same number of times!
Value of 3rd Choice. Suppose someone is a fan of two or three parties that are NOT putting up candidates in that constituency. In FPTP any vote they make will inevitably be their third or fourth preference; so would you discount those as well?
In AV it is the same as voting systems where voters go to the polls several times, except that the same questions are asked all at the same time: “If your favoured candidate were not to stand in the next round, who would you vote for?”
With AV the second or third preference is the voter’s first preference in that round, since their preferred candidates are no longer in the running. It’s really not that complicated!
AV too complicated. To say that AV is a complicated voting system is disingenuous. It’s like saying that searching on Google is complicated on the basis of not understanding the algorithms involved.
With Google you put in your question and press Search.
With AV you put the candidates in order 1.2. 3 – the same as a competition on the back of a cereal packet – except that you don’t have to number all of them – and the system works it out for you.
Cost of AV. To say that one system or another costs more is hardly a relevant argument – democracy is expensive. We want the fairest system not the cheapest! Why not discourage voter turnout, that will save money!
The fairer and more representative a system is seen to be the more likelihood of a larger turnout and more expense counting all those extra votes, so that’s a bad idea?
Wouldn’t work around here. Lastly, this is not about any one constituency, it is about fair voting nationally, and, in many many seats, unless we ask more about what voters want, we deliver a result that does not accord with their wishes.
FPTP worked fine with two parties, now it just distorts the wishes of the voters and is only preferable if you go for clinging onto power over democracy, for that is the choice:
NO votes for the status quo and devalues and disregards the wishes of all those who don’t currently support Tory or Labour as a first choice; YES votes for a fairer more democratic system where Tory or Labour will probably get in, but based on a manifesto that appeals to more people. MPs will just have to work harder…?