Contrary to the View from Westminster (Harrogate Advertiser 28/1/11), under the Alternative Vote (AV) system every vote counts and is much fairer than First Past The Post (FPTP).
It is wrong to suggest that under AV some voters have multiple votes counted, and that the principle of one-man-one-vote is broken. Under FPTP, millions of people across the country know their vote is wasted if they do not support the top two parties in their area – and in very safe seats the same applies if they don’t support the top party.
Under the much fairer and more democratic AV system, if someone’s first choice candidate comes last, that first choice vote is rejected and his or her second preference is used, and so on. This way everyone gets to contribute to the top two candidates’ votes, giving the winning candidate support, and therefore a mandate, from more than half the electorate, unlike the present FPTP system where candidates, and even governments, get elected with very much less than 50% support, leaving millions feeling disenfranchised.
In simply asking voters to rank candidates in order of preference AV is not complicated and it is used universally for all sorts of elections in many organisations. For example, political parties use the AV system to elect their own leaders!
Finally it is true that the Alternative Vote is not a fully proportional system, though a step in that direction. It is a strange argument to stress that AV is not proportional and then go on to express a preference for First Past The Post, which is completely non-proportional.
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