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

edited 19 April 2011 at 11:04AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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  • chardirchardir Forumite
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    spikyone wrote: »
    But if we vote "no" it's easy to see how those in power, both now and in the future, could see that as a sign that the population as a whole don't want any kind of reform.

    There's no point trying to second guess what future reforms might be. The choice now is simple: FPTP or AV. We must choose which we think is best. A choice of AV simply because you want PR in the future is a flawed assumption.
  • corbyboycorbyboy Forumite
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    I understand how first past the post works. I understand how alternative vote works. I understand that the differences between the two.

    The problem is I can't see why one is better than the other. Nobody is doing a good job of explaining this to me.
  • edited 19 April 2011 at 3:36PM
    rhyskirhyski Forumite
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    edited 19 April 2011 at 3:36PM
    i'd recommend watching the following videos on youtube:
    "The Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained"

    ‎...and this for an explanation of the Alternative Vote (AV):
    "The Alternative Vote System Explained"

    The videos outline the advantages of AV over FPTP.
    I can't post the links, but if someone else can it would be much appreciated.

    my own view is that, although AV (as with any voting system) has it's faults - it is better than the current FPTP system, it's a FAIRER system - it's a step in the right direction.
  • In AV, what happens if after the resharing out of votes no one gets above 50% ?
  • In AV, what happens if after the resharing out of votes no one gets above 50% ?

    There are further rounds of counting until there are two candidates (if nobody has yet got 50%) and at this point one would have more than 50%.
  • edited 19 April 2011 at 4:03PM
    qwertyfaceqwertyface Forumite
    7 Posts
    edited 19 April 2011 at 4:03PM
    Robability wrote: »
    That's the thing.. I can imagine that scenario. But what if the situation is reversed.. and AV wins through, and then those proponents of electoral reform say "lets have another referendum to further improve the system!". Weighing it up, the "You must be joking" seems to me to be louder in that case than with outright rejection.

    At the end of the day, it's politicians who decide whether we're allowed a referendum, and us who have to vote in it. I take it you think that we'd lose a future referendum, if we got one after a Yes. I think that if we get a No, we've got no chance of having the second referendum to lose!
    Robability wrote: »
    But your second point is perhaps where the differences lie. The problems that I have with FPTP aren't solved by AV, so when I factor in the additional complexity of the system, which for the record I don't think lies in the method of voting, but in the method of counting, it makes for an overall worse system, regardless of the chance of further reform.

    The big problem that AV solves is the "spoiler effect". Suppose I am Daniel Duckhouse MP, and I've not been doing a terribly good job. You think to yourself "Anyone with half a brain could do better than this overpaid clown", and decide to stand against me. I would be quaking in my boots, because you're much more popular than I am, so I look like I'm going to lose.

    In a First Past the Post election, the best thing that could happen for me, is for someone else (call them candidate C) to stand against me too. The better they are, the better for me, because people who like me will still vote for me, and people who don't will be divided between the two of you. Even though either one of you is more popular than me, I still stand to win. I might even slip some money to one of the candidates to help them! If there were a head to head race between me and you, or me and candidate C, I would lose, but because it's a three way election I stand to win!

    Obviously the fact that that this causes the wrong person to win in this scenario is bad enough, but it has several other effects:
    • Candidate C, who has a lot to add to the debate might decide not to run, since the better they do, the more likely I am to win. It's bad for good candidates.
    • Voters who really prefer candidate C might decide that they have to vote for you instead, so as to not to split the vote. If people can't vote for who they really want it is bad for the voters.
    • I need to be able to rely on the minority of voters who support me, so I might do things which help them out over the majority who support you. This is bad for everyone!
    • As long as there is more than one other candidate, and I can keep my supporters on side, I'm pretty safe, and I can relax. That's bad for my constituents.
    I've gone on too long here, but I hope you take my point: The spoiler effect is worth solving. A more proportional parliament would be great, but we can address real problems today if we vote yes!
  • alexlynealexlyne Forumite
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    qwertyface wrote: »
    In this scenario, the best thing that could happen for me, is for someone else (call them candidate C) to stand against me too. The better they are, the better for me, because people who like me will still vote for me, and people who don't will be divided between the two of you. Even though either one of you is more popular than me, I still stand to win. I might even slip some money to one of the candidates to help them! If there were a head to head race between me and you, or me and candidate C, I would lose, but because it's a three way election I stand to win!


    If it's a three-way election, you would need to come second at least after the first round of counting, otherwise you're out!
  • rhyskirhyski Forumite
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    alexlyne wrote: »
    If it's a three-way election, you would need to come second at least after the first round of counting, otherwise you're out!

    the example was talking about the problem with FPTP though...
  • the example was talking about the problem with FPTP though...

    Oops, wasn't very clear about that! I will update my post.
  • See I'm not convinced, in my head the strength of the argument is diminished as soon as talk starts of a "right" and "wrong" person to win. I understand the spoiler effect, but think its relevant only if a candidate is a bad loser.

    In the scenario above, more people want Duckhouse to win than any other single candidate. I'm fine that he wins, even though I may not support him.
    I take it you think that we'd lose a future referendum, if we got one after a Yes.

    No I don't care what the result would be, I care about getting the vote in the first place. I think the chances of even getting a future referendum are lessened by a Yes vote, and that is what matters to me.
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