Robert Hampton

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20th April 2011

AV Leads
Posted by at 8.31pm | 1 response | Politics

On 5th May the country will hold a referendum on changing the voting system. If the public votes “yes”, MPs would, in future, be elected to Parliament using the Alternative Vote system.

Under AV voters do not choose one candidate. Instead they rank the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes, the candidate in last place drops out of the contest and the next preferences of those who voted for him are distributed among the other candidates. This is repeated until one candidate gets over 50%, and they are declared the winner.

Let’s take a couple of real examples. In the constituency where I live, Liverpool Riverside, Louise Ellman was elected in 2010 with 59% of the vote – a clear winner and AV would not change this. However, over in Wirral South, the result was less clear cut:

  • Labour 40.8%
  • Conservative 39.5%
  • Lib Dem 16.6%
  • UKIP 3.2%

The Labour candidate was declared the winner on a minority of the vote, with the rest of the votes (more than half) ignored completely. That doesn’t seem right to me, and that is why I am voting YES in the referendum.

It’s no secret that the Lib Dems want electoral reform and this referendum is only happening because they successfully negotiated for it as part of the coalition agreement. It may be tempting for some to vote “no” just to piss off Nick Clegg, a man without any discernible backbone or principles. I think we should put that aside and look at the bigger picture: this is a golden chance to improve our democracy – one which we may not get again for decades.

There is more info on the Alternative Vote system from the Yes to Fairer Votes web site.

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One Response
  1. Comment by Gavin Kincade
    21st April 2011 at 8:41 pm

    A YES vote will hugely annoy the Tory Right. What’s not to like?