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April 25, 2011

Evolution is what we need in politics – Change to the Alternative Vote

by Val Reynolds

What is it that creates such anger and scaremongering in the press about the Alternative Vote?

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass judgment on our current voting system and consider whether it might not be improved by allowing us to cast our votes more honestly.

It’s not a vote for a revolution; only for a small, evolutionary change. We hardly ever get consulted about these things, and it’s only thanks to producing a hung Parliament that we have the opportunity next week.

Alternative Voting means all MPs would have the support of a majority of their voters. Compare that with the 2010 election when two thirds of MPs lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history. How can that be acceptable?

Alternative Voting System Explained:

  • There is no need to redraw constituency boundaries
  • It penalises extremist parties who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes
  • It eliminates the need for tactical voting, so you can vote without fear of wasting your vote.
  • It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning – don’t we all get fed up with that – as a candidate doesn’t want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences they want.

AV is alive and active in many areas of our lives already:

  • Leadership elections for Labour and Liberal Democrats
  • Elections for UK parliamentary officials including Select Committee Chairs
  • Elections for the Academy Award for Best Picture
  • Australian House of Representatives
  • Millions of people in membership organisations, businesses and trade unions internal elections
  • Most Student Union elections
  • Irish Presidential election
  • Numerous American City, Mayoral and district elections

AV is the best system when you’re out to elect a single winner.

If you don’t bother to vote next week you should never again complain about the political system.  If you are swayed by the scaremongering of the No vote camp, we don’t deserve to think of ourselves as intelligent citizens.

So please, turn out and vote. Make your vote count. Decide on the facts, not the frenzy. Go for fairness, transparency and greater democracy.

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor

Mary Ann Sieghart, The i 25 April 2011
The Electoral Reform Society

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