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Alternative Vote have-a-go heroes

Deborah McGurran | 00:17 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

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On 5 May the British public will vote on how we elect our MPs to parliament.

Just so you know, the question to be put to a referendum will be: Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the "alternative vote" system instead of the current "first past the post" system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?

The UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect its MPs - the one with the most votes wins even if it's only a majority of one.

Now we will be asked whether the Alternative Vote system should be adopted instead.

Of course you all know that this system allows voters to rank the candidates in order of preference.

So, under the Alternative Vote system instead of casting a single vote you can rank the candidates in order -1, 2, 3, 4, 5... and so on.

The first preference votes are counted but in order to win, you need to get 50% of the vote.

If that hasn't happened, the candidate with fewest votes gets knocked out and those ballot papers are redistributed according to their second-choice candidates.

That's repeated until someone achieves the 50%.

Simple! Geddit? Of course YOU do...

And I raise a glass to the hapless individuals who kindly agreed to demonstrate the system for us.



  • Comment number 1.

    You can also try out the Alternative Vote for yourself with my Facebook app:

    It lets you create and vote on polls using the Alternative Vote.

    Barnaby (app creator)

  • Comment number 2.

    Personally I am going to vote against AV. Both FPTP and AV are flawed voting systems, with both being able to provide outcomes that can arguably be described as against the public intentions.

    Neither side in the argument has managed to demonstrate, to my satisfaction, that their voting system will provide a fairer outcome. So on this basis I am going to vote against AV rather than for FPTP on the grounds that I would rather stick with the flawed system we have and understand, rather than move to a flawed system that we don't understand. A case of better the devil you know......

    Neither system is proportional, FPTP can elect someone on a minority of the votes, and AV counts someone's 2nd, 3rd, 4th preference as being a strong a vote for a candidate as someone else's 1st preference.

  • Comment number 3.

    i feal that this goverment are more concerned with petty things like this jerry mandering we all know this is cleggs making hoping he will get more votes cammeron not silly the liberals will be wiped out at the next election for lying to voters like me i will never vote for them again arfter 45 years he is a child compared with cammeron

  • Comment number 4.

    Very nice example. Indeed, people do not understand the AV voting system. We need to have a transparent election system that all the voters can trust and understand the results. AV doe not provide this.

    In America, where they use AV (called Instant Runoff Voting or Ranked Voting), there are many examples of confusion, from Councilmembers, votes and even election officials!:

    No on AV, One Person, one vote - everyone understands this voting system


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