Wednesday, May 04, 2011


YES! To AV – 6

Down to my 6th reason to vote YES! to the Alternative Vote tomorrow, and all of my preferences are still looking pretty good! This one sounds nerdier, but it’s important: one of the key reasons AV means fairer votes is that it stops tactical voting. And that makes it much fairer to the voter – instead of having to decide whether to vote for the candidate you most agree with, or just try and guess who’s best-placed to stop the one you most disagree with, you vote honestly, positively, and if your favourite doesn’t make it, your next choice might.

It’s all part of how AV gives voters more power (my 3rd reason to vote YES!), and the flipside of how you get to put your most-hated candidate right at the bottom (my 5th). It’s common sense – wouldn’t you rather be able to vote for who you really want, without fear that it would ‘let them in’? Don’t be prisoners of fear.

The “No” campaign claim the current system is simple to understand… Well, only if you’re in a ‘safe’ seat and know the same party will get in no matter who you vote for! What actually happens now is that an awful lot of voters have to take a stab in the dark and hope their vote won’t be wasted. Listen to World War II Naval Veteran Ralph’s story on how he fought for democracy, but democracy’s never happened for him.

You know all those leaflets party send out saying ‘Don’t vote for them – they can’t win here’? You can put all those in the bin (even faster than you already do) if you vote YES! to AV. Roy Jenkins’ way of explaining AV’s big boost to voter choice was that: “…it would enable voters to express their second and sometimes third or fourth preferences, and thus free them from a bifurcating choice between realistic and ideological commitment or, as it sometimes is called, voting tactically.”

Or you might have it explained by cats.

Here’s how the current system works. Or doesn’t (from Anthony Smith).

One of these is simple to use. It’s not the one you’ve been told.
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If that doesn’t convince you, here’s a ballot paper worked out by hand, too. “First past the post”? It’s just too complicated for voters to understand!


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No To All Those Lies (Part V) – Taking the Piss

All anyone’s had from the No Campaign is lies, lies, more lies, and an extra helping of lies. Obvious, because they can’t come up with a positive case for the current broken system – as you’ve seen above, it’s complicated and wasteful, and a fix to make voters vote against the person they really want. And as it’s the current, broken system that’s really the confusing, unfair system the No-sayers pretend AV is – what better way to answer them than by taking the piss?

So here’s Charlie Brooker on the No campaign’s whirlpool of stupidity (OK, so he doesn’t think much of the Yes campaign, either…).

And look what would happen if the FA cup was decided by “first past the post”? Or if the Premiership was decided by “first past the post”? Madness (I’m reliably informed by friends who give a fuck about football)!

Not completely convinced yet to vote #Yes2AV? Try 1 of my other YES! reasons. Or 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 8…!

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On Twitter you've pretty much convinced me to vote Yes, but I'm still very sceptical about many of the arguments that people are using. Alas, this is one of them. I don't see how AV will reduce tactical voting at all - surely it makes it more likely! The same question you use in the FPTP diagram about whether your candidate is in with a chance of winning still applies, surely - so the BNP will get plenty of first choice votes because people know that they won't get enough firsts or seconds to win.

Whether or not this is statistically plausible, people aren't all political experts. It's what normal humans will think when they go to their polling station. So while I'm supporting AV because it's a better way of making a decision, I fully expect the BNP and others in its stable to *appear* to be more popular next time there's an election because people will have decided to "deliberately waste" their own first preference on them.

The other thing to note is that I don't think there's anything wrong with tactical voting. All voting is tactical to some extent - unless you agree completely with one candidate on everything, which has never been my experience. Ever.

Unless AV advocates get the hang of how normal people really think, we'll have no arguments in place for the potentially unsettling results of the next election.
Well, it *is* only my sixth preference reason ;-) But thanks (what's your Twitter ID?).

But I think you're mixing up what's understood by 'voting tactically' and 'protest vote'. If people vote just to give a big party a kick up the arse, they do that anyway - though I agree it may have slightly more unintended consequences under AV.

But how most studies reckon 'tactical voting' works is that people think, 'I'd like to vote for who I like best, but they can't win. I'll vote for someone I don't like much to stop who I hate the most'. Your saying people will be freed up to vote for whoever they want as first preference and don't worry it'll let someone else in - well, surely that's the point? It's assumed a lot of 'real' votes are suppressed by the current system.
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