Friday, March 04, 2011

Claim that a Yes vote in the AV referendum will waste £250m is incorrect

Excellent letter from Chris Millman in yesterdays Post about the AV referendum. The man deserves to be elected! Here's what he said...

J ACK Lopresti's claim that a Yes vote in the Alternative Vote referendum will waste £250m does not bear scrutiny.

Of this figure, £90m is for the cost of the referendum, which was sanctioned by his government, and will be spent regardless of the result.

He goes on to claim that much of the rest will be required for the purchase of vote counting machines.
How so?

They use AV in Austrailian elections where turn out is 100% (voting is compulsory over there) yet find that they are able to count the votes manually. Why should it be different here?

The No Campaign estimates these machines will cost £125m when the actual cost will be nil. The remainder of the £250m figure that they have plucked out of the sky is to cover the cost of educating the public in how to use the Alternative Vote.

Why should this be necessary? It is a perfectly simple matter to list the candidates 1,2,3, in order of preference and if you do not feel inclined to do so, a simple X will suffice to indicate that this is the only candidate acceptable to you. No doubt the Government will spend some money encouraging people to vote, as they always do, but a voter turning up at polling station without any knowledge of AV whatsoever would still be able to cast their vote in the old fashioned way.

Mr Lopresti's other claim, that AV allows supporters of fringe parties to have more than one vote, is equally ridiculous.

The system of listing candidates in preferential order allows an 'instant run off'' to take place, so that, effectively, there can be further rounds of voting without the voter having to return to the polling station. Yes, the votes of eliminated candidates are redistributed according to the voters preference, but the votes of those whose choices have not been eliminated will also count in each 'round.'

Mr. Lopresti's contention that AV will benefit the Lib Dems is less easy to debunk, because nobody knows how people will behave when free of the temptation to vote tactically.

I think it is more likely that UKIP will be the party to profit, as there are a great many Euro-sceptics who are unhappy with the Conservative party, but keep voting for them for fear of letting Labour in. I suspect that this is the real reason that Mr Lopresti is so frightened of AV.

Chris Millman, Coombe Dingle

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