Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Greens agree to join the yes campaign for the alternative vote referendum

Green Party Greens to campaign for AV

This is a good sense, pragmatic decision. The alternative vote (AV) system has many flaws - not least that its not a proportional system - but nothing like as many as the current first past the post system. AV is a step in the right direction and has the advantage of demonstrating that electoral system change is wanted, if voted through. AV undermines tactical voting because every vote - not just votes for the eventual winner - will count given that voters can express first, second, third - and further - choices as appropriate. The referendum outcome may have an influence on the choice of electoral system for the second chamber/House of Lords when it is reformed also.

This is how the Electoral Reform Society make the case for AV:

The case for AV

*All MPs would have the support of a majority of their constituents. Following the 2010 election 2/3 of MPs lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history.

*It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link.

*It more accurately reflects public opinion of extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes.

*Coalition governments are no more likely to arise under AV than under First-Past-the-Post.

*It eliminates the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.

*It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one doesn't want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies.

AV in Practice

*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.
*Most UK Student Union elections.
*Australian Legislative Assemblies ("lower houses") of all states and territories (bar Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which both use STV).
*Australian Legislative Council in Tasmania.
*Irish Presidential election.
*By-elections to the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish Parliament).
*By-elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
*Papua New Guinea National Parliament (1964-1975 and from 2007).
*Fijian House of Representatives.
*Numerous American Mayoral and district elections.

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