'Is AV really so complex? Or is it just confusion marketing?' blog discussion

edited 19 April 2011 at 10:04AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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  • It seems pretty cut and dried to me: Suppose you have an AV election, and someone other than the candidate who would have won under FPTP wins. What that means is that the AV winner (the least unpopular candidate) is more popular than the FPTP winner (the most common favourite candidate), or to put it another way, in a head to head election between the two, we would expect the AV winner to win.

    To me the No camp are saying we should prefer FPTP winners as our MPs rather than AV winners. Why? I don't know. It might make coalitions more likely, but isn't our responsibility as voters to send the right people to Westminster? What happens once they're there is out of our hands until next time round.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    Lewie wrote: »
    VOTE AV.

    It's the only way ANY of the minority parties are ever going to get a chance.
    The system as it stands is a con.

    If there are 100 seats and a party wins the proposed majority, say 55% (55 seats), then they gain power.
    If there are 45,000 voters in the 45 constituencies that DIDN'T vote for the party but only 30,000 voters in the 55 constituencies that did vote for the party, they still win even though only a minority voted for them.
    Also, in each seat it is rarely the candidate that polled the majority of the vote that wins. If there are 4 candidates and A gets 40%, B gets 30%, C gets 20% and D gets 10% then less than half of the voters voted for candidate A yet candidate A wins even though 60% of the voters effectively voted against him/her.
    How is that right??

    There is no guarantee under AV that any party will command the support of the majority of the electorate either. It's just a different form of FPTP, not proportional and doesn't really help minority parties.
  • AV is a step in the right direction.

    One thing is certain, a vote against AV WILL be spun as a ringing endorsement of FPTP and we'll have had the only say we're going to get for a generation or more.

    BUT - electoral reform IS happening - the number of seats is being reduced but there is NO intention to reduce the size of government. This will strengthen any future FPTP government because there will be fewer backbenchers holding them to (limited) account.

    Vote YES to AV but start agitating for full PR. If Reid, Blunkett and Cameron are all in the NO camp, AV can't be all bad!
    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
    But, if the white runs out, I'll drink the red.

  • alexlynealexlyne Forumite
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    I think I'd prefer an AV system whereby 2nd round counts are a fraction of the first, say 3/4pts per vote for send round, 1/2 for 3rd round...
  • raphaniusraphanius Forumite
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    i'm so pleased so many of you have seen adverts and posters. i have seen none of that. the only info i have had is a government leaflet and a lib dem 'say yes' flyer cos my oh is standing for the council. so how exactly am i meant to make my mind up on such little information. even after martin's explanation i still dont get it. its like jenga. pick the bottom candidate to go to the top !!!!!!!
    Wins: 2008: £606.10 2009: £806.24 2010: £713.47 2011: 328.32
  • I think todays post is a bit of a misrepresentation. Firstly, the whole thing clearly reads as a "You're an idiot if you don't like AV piece". Phrases like:

    "It’s done to take advantage of the in-built advantage of the incumbent candidate – or in other words, to play into the hands of the fact most people don’t like change – even if it’s for the better."

    ...imply that the change is for the better and anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand.

    Whilst I am a nobody, I'm into politics and have what I think is a good grasp of the fundamentals and nuances, and I don't think its unreasonable to say that AV is complicated. Certainly if you compare it against FPTP, and even when explaining it in its own right.

    I feel like your summary statements are wrong as well. Saying AV doesn't give "the majority" their "least worst" feels like a slight misrepresentation. It gives at least 51% of voters an "acceptable" candidate. This doesn't sound like the end of the world, but it is different. Its possible for 40% of voters to only vote for their favourite candidate and have their views overtaken by others who had no clear preference.. and that seems wrong to me.

    I think the whole AV vs FTPT debate isn't the one we should be having. I am in favour of electoral reform and a referendum on the subject, but we should have a real choice, including STV and the rest. My main worry with this vote is if it succeeds, then nobody will look at change for another 60 years. If it fails, then hopefully it will spark a wider review on the other options.. That is why I will be voting no. AV isn't good enough as a system to entrench us for the rest of my lifetime.
  • LewieLewie Forumite
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    alexlyne wrote: »
    Whatever the voting system, if this is the first round of voting, then it is the actual result. Second choices are pretty much the same as 'voting against' someone else, in that they aren't the first choice. If A gets 40% and is then boosted to 60% by 2nd/3rd/4th rounds, then they've still only got 40% of the vote, plus pull extra numbers from the little parties.

    Whatever happens more people get more of a say.
    If the 40% 'winner' from round 1 gets zero votes in round 2, zero votes in round 3 and zero votes in round 4, they don't get elected.
    The 60% of voters have voted out their least favourite candidate so how is the first round vote the actual result??
    Not perfect, but more people have a better result than if 60% of them were stuck with their least favourite.
  • Robability wrote: »
    I think the whole AV vs FTPT debate isn't the one we should be having. I am in favour of electoral reform and a referendum on the subject, but we should have a real choice, including STV and the rest. My main worry with this vote is if it succeeds, then nobody will look at change for another 60 years. If it fails, then hopefully it will spark a wider review on the other options.. That is why I will be voting no. AV isn't good enough as a system to entrench us for the rest of my lifetime.

    For better or worse it is the debate we are having, and it's the choice we have on the ballot.

    I doubt you're right that a Yes makes further change less likely than a No, and that certainly doesn't seem to be the mainstream opinion!
  • DerivativeDerivative Forumite
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    I believe the whole system of constituencies is flawed anyway. Proportional Representation is without a doubt, unarguably, the fairer system for a _national_ election. FPTP and similar systems make sense for Locals.

    Support the Greens? Don't live in Brighton?

    Congratulations, you don't have to bother going to the polls.

    Same deal if you live in a safe seat constituency and support the main opposing party. In order for your vote to actually stand a chance of influencing the election, you basically need to move to somewhere that's a marginal.

    I couldn't give a toss about who the MP for my area is. I want to vote for the national Government. I don't vote for people, I vote for policies.
    Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.”
    Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.”[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][/FONT]
  • PmarmaladePmarmalade Forumite
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    alexlyne wrote: »
    Whatever the voting system, if this is the first round of voting, then it is the actual result. Second choices are pretty much the same as 'voting against' someone else, in that they aren't the first choice. If A gets 40% and is then boosted to 60% by 2nd/3rd/4th rounds, then they've still only got 40% of the vote, plus pull extra numbers from the little parties.

    The thing is, AV should affect the way people make their choices. AV should help reduce tactical voting whereby people will only vote for one or the other of the top two parties for fear of wasting a vote.

    Agree with someone else who said it's not a complete fix but just a step in the right direction.
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