How do the voting systems compare?
Our existing voting system is in 72 countries including the world’s two biggest democracies. You put an ‘X’ next to the person you want to support and candidate who gets the most votes wins. It’s fair, simple to understand and creates strong governments.
In stark contrast, AV is complex, expensive and unfair.
Instead of using an ‘X’, voters rank candidates in order of preference using ‘1, 2, 3’ and so on. If one candidate has more than 50% of the first preference votes, they are elected outright. If that doesn’t happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the second, third or later preferences of the people who voted for them are allocated to the remaining candidates. If still no candidate has a majority of votes, the next lowest candidate is eliminated and their votes are redistributed. This process keeps on occurring until one candidate has over 50% of the votes.
Here are five key reasons why I’ll be voting ‘No’ to AV:
- AV will lead to more Hung Parliaments and give the Lib Dems the power to decide who occupies Downing Street – Under AV, it would become much more difficult ever again to elect a majority Conservative Government in this country. AV would probably transfer at least 25 Conservative-held seats to the Lib Dems, without any change in our share of the vote. AV also makes it much more difficult for the electorate to get rid of a Government they no longer want. First past the post is a far better system for sacking a Government that’s lost the confidence of the country.
- AV is not a fair system – The candidate coming third on first preferences could end up winning. Supporters of fringe parties can end up getting five or six votes while people who backed the mainstream candidates only get one.
- AV is complicated and expensive - Calculating the results would be a long and complicated process, requiring special counting machines. The Government would also have to spend millions of pounds explaining to voters how AV works. With ordinary families facing tough times, we can’t afford to spend a quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers\' money bringing in a new voting system.
- AV is an obscure and unpopular system - Only three countries in the world use AV for their elections – Fiji, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. In Fiji, they’re about to get rid of it. In Australia, voting is compulsory and 6 out of 10 voters want to return to the British system.
- Even the people campaigning for AV have admitted it’s a bad system – Nick Clegg called it “a miserable little compromise”. An independent commission run by the senior Liberal Democrat, Roy Jenkins, concluded that AV was ‘even less proportional’ than our existing system and would not make politicians more accountable.
Many people don’t realise how important this referendum is, but a low turn-out could let the Yes Campaign steal victory. Your vote will really matter if we’re going to save our first past the post voting system.
Please join me and use your vote to reject an obscure and flawed system by voting ‘No’ to AV on Thursday 5th May.