Tuesday, 5 April 2011

AV - some more thoughts

FullFact has an article on AV and also links to an interesting paper by The Constitution Society, the latter paper of which I was unaware until today.

Some interesting facts emerge, again of which I was unaware; namely that as each round of counting proceeds:
"The more rounds of counting required to elect a winning candidate, the greater the chance that votes will cease to be counted as they had not expressed a preference for any of the candidates remaining in the election. The number of votes required to win the contest therefore drops." (FullFact)
"The explanatory note from the Bill states that candidates must achieve more than 50% of the votes in the count - either at the initial counting stage or, if necessary, at a further counting stage - in order to be elected. The Bill therefore anticipates that the total number of votes counted in each round will be diminishing, so that the winner in final round need not necessarily have polled more than 50% of all votes cast in the election." (The Constitution Society)
It can also be seen that some voters 2nd preferences are not counted because their first preference has been eliminated in the previous round. The point that the winner in the final round need not necessarily have polled more than 50% of all votes cast in the election is borne out by the findings of the Jenkin Commission and also made in point 4.2 of the Constitution Society paper:
"Nor, in the ‘optional preference’ proposed for the UK, does the winning candidate necessarily have an outright majority of the total vote (i.e. of the total number of people who voted). In Australia, where the AV system is used for House of Representatives elections, voting is compulsory and voters are thus required to allocate a preference to every candidate on the ballot. As a consequence, the winning candidate does always achieve an outright majority of the total vote."
All in all it really does seem that AV is not the system it is being presented as, neither does it seem to be 'fair' when some 2nd preference votes are discounted. It is also patently obvious that the argument promoted by Yes2AV that all winning candidates will have received 50% plus 1,is not correct. Neither, it has to be said, is it "one man, one vote". Ed Miliband demonstrates every politicians ability to be economical with the truth when he said:
"But it would help to restore the balance of power in favour of voters because it would force all MPs to earn the majority of votes."
Finally - and my apologies if I am being a bore - I can but repeat my earlier observation that if the voting system is to be changed then it should be up to the electorate to select that system which they prefer from all available options - and not have a choice thrust upon them by the political elite.


Sue said...

I'm presuming a computer is going to be doing this?

Otherwise it's going to be a very laborious task, especially if there are alot of candidates.

I suppose I'm a traditionalist. I do believe in one man, one vote or we end up with disastrous results like the ConDemNation who u-turn constantly, bicker and can't agree on anything.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Sue: *Ahem*, it was under FPTP and one man one vote that we got the ConDemnation!

It seems that every voting system has detractions - and FPTP has served us well for some time now. It is only because some parties want to indulge in a little gerrymandering that it is being changed.

Sean O'Hare said...

Hi WfW. Has FPTP really served us well? How come we have ended up with the ConDemNation (as Sue termed them) and absolutely no difference between LibLabCon?

I sometimes wonder where we would be now if we had adopted PR after WWII. Just maybe there would still be more than a small handful of liberty minded individuals in parliament. Just maybe Heath wouldn't have made PM. Just maybe we wouldn't have joined the EU. Big ifs I grant you.

wv: comenest sounds like an invitation!

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SoH: Believe me, I am not a fan of FPTP, but on the basis of one man one vote then it is the best there is. On the other hand I accept if we want a representative parliament, then full PR is probably the fairest.

But at least let us decide!

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember that in British Columbia a constitutional assembly was formed by lot. This assembly looked at all the possible voting systems and recommended one. This was subjected to a referendum.

Joseph Takagi said...

LibLabCon is the result of FPTP because the two main parties in each seat know that the more hardcore voters on the left and right will generally vote for them, even if they'd prefer a smaller party (because they feel that voting for a small party is a "wasted" vote).

The result is that parties concentrate on winning the votes of the small number of floating voters in 100-odd seats, hence, their policies are almost the same, apart from a sops to try to convince hardcore left/right voters that they really are socialists/conservatives... honest.

What AV at least gives is that people can go with their first preference first. It could be that more than half the Conservative voters in say, Devizes, actually prefer UKIP, but because they don't know how everyone else will vote, they'll tactically vote Conservative because they fear that if they vote UKIP and everyone else doesn't, that all they'll do is to increase the possibility of Labour getting in.

And while you might prefer another system, you won't get a vote on that if you don't vote for AV. You'll have to wait for another hung parliament and it would have to be even more hung for a main party to agree to STV or PR.

Vote AV, and you'll create a system that will deliver more coalitions, and at least the potential for another referendum.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

JT: I seem to recall that we 'crossed swords' on MW's blog and we could not agree then, but hey ho,here we probably go again........

Accept your first two paras but after that.......

Re your 3rd para, if what you say is true under AV, the difference between that and FJPTP is?

Re your 4th para: utter tosh! What are your grounds for suggesting that voting no to AV means we will not be given another chance? And who the hell are the political elite to give us another chance - I go back to my original assertion that it is up to us to choose how we wish to elect MPs.

Re your 5th para, people will still vote tactically and will soon work out where to put their 1,2,3,4s (that is if they bother beyond 1).

I just hope that it were possible to every referendum ballot paper on AV to be ignored by voters - that would, really would, send a message to the Cleggerons and Mili-ons!

TomTom said...

Read the Booklet. AV does not get introduced unless the Boundary Changes become law

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TT: Booklet? Not had one item on AV from anyone.