Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pros and Cons of AV

Pros of AV

- You can vote for who you really want as a first preference without thinking your vote will be wasted if you live in a safe seat

- Proportional Representation would be more representative of what the electorate wants. By changing the voting system this time, it will make it easier to change to Proportional Representation in the future. Keeping FPTP will mean it's harder to make the argument in the future for Proportional Representation

- Fairer representation for everyone makes it more likely more people will vote, which improves democracy.

- Parties will have to appeal to others outside their core support as a 2nd preference, which is a good thing as they will have to make better arguments which have more support - it will improve democracy. For instance, if a hospital is up for closure in your area, the mp standing for re-election (say for instance Tory) will have to acknowledge it and have a position on it if there is a single issue candidate standing on that ticket. Why? As the single issue candidate is likely to come close to last, so the candidate will have to appeal to that party or risk splitting his vote or losing out to another major candidate standing with that policy.

- Have a look at http://www.voterpower.org.uk/ to see how AV will affect the power of your vote

- The last election was effectively decided by 1.9% of the electorate in marginal seats - AV will increase this "effectively decides" number

- The candidate who wins will need 50% support from people who vote in all rounds (i.e. put a number against each candidate on the ballot paper)

- FPTP suits a 2 party system which we used to have back when it was brought in and would suit the previous 2 party system of Labour and Tories. Now there are 6 parties with a significant share of the vote - Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, BNP and Green.

As the three smaller parties don't stand everywhere it really depends who stands where (certainly in council elections, and local councils run our country, as well as companies and the media that is). So, we have to eliminate the split vote effect. The best way of doing that out of the two is AV, FPTP means you have to make all sorts of crazy calculations to vote tactically.

AV keeps the constituency links and therefore provides someone who can be a champion for the local area.

Cons of AV

- It will take slightly longer to count the votes

- People will have to get used to a different system. This may require education.

More information on the claims by either side of the campaign is available at FactCheck and on the AV briefing paper

I think the argument makes itself TBH but that's the argument without any of the lies. There is no need for counting machines - ignore the £250 million figure as it's a lie.

Happy to answer more questions