There are far more influential people than myself in support of AV who have written why it is a step forward for democracy. But I’ll just quickly write why I believe AV is right, why we should vote yes on May 5.
I’ll address the arguments against AV put forward by the No to AV campaign.
No to AV say – Second and third choice candidates win
A candidate is only currently deemed a ‘winner’ because of the current FPTP system. Under the current FPTP system, a candidate who wins may in fact have less support from the majority of voters than the candidate who comes second. AV reveals the candidate who is preferred by the majority of voters, unlike FPTP. To win under AV, you need to get 50% of the votes from the public. If the second or third choice candidate wins, it is because more people have listed this candidate as their preferred choice, making the winner more representative of the public votes. So the notion of second preference candidates winning is completely wrong because that candidate currently deemed ‘second’ by the FPTP system may actually have greater support than the winner under the current FPTP system.
No to AV say – Extremist parties have votes counted more than once
Votes are transferred when there is an elimination but no parties votes are counted more than once! One persons vote does not get recounted in each round of elimination. It is one person, one vote.
No to AV say – AV is complex
Putting 1, 2, 3 in a box is hardly complex. The system of counting votes is far from complex either! Votes are counted, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and so it continues until someone has 50% of the votes.
No to AV say – It leads to hung parliaments
All the evidence suggests quite the opposite. A study completed by Prof of politics at Strathclyde University John Curtice concluded that since the early 1980’s, only one year would have resulted in a hung parliament under AV. That year is 2010.
In summary, AV makes politicians more accountable to and more representative of the public. Candidates will need majority support from a constituency (50% of the votes) so will have to work harder for votes.
Importantly, because candidates need 50% of the votes, the presumption of safe seats will be over – for all parties. And so because a candidate needs to get majority support and a failure to do so will result in opening the door to other parties, people will feel more empowered in traditional safe seat constituencies as voters will feel their vote isn’t a wasted vote but instead feel they can influence the status quo.
AV – empowerment, representation, accountability. That’s why I feel you should vote Yes on May 5.