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Thu, Apr. 14th, 2011, 08:11 pm
The Alternative Vote explained by animals

I would not think of trying to influence another country's electoral process, but Australian electoral analyst Antony Green found this very cute video which explains how preferential voting works which may be instructive to UK furries who are unfamiliar with this form of voting:

If anyone is curious, I'm happy to share my experiences with the preferential voting system we use in Australia.

Thu, Apr. 14th, 2011 10:58 am (UTC)

That was very interesting, thank you!

Thu, Apr. 14th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
furballsuit: Hero Rats

Hero Rats is my new favorite song now.

Thu, Apr. 14th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)

Brilliantly well explained.

Thu, Apr. 28th, 2011 06:46 am (UTC)

AV might be good in that it gives other parties a fighting chance -- I would certainly love to see more UKIP MPs myself. And it's little wonder why the LibDems are bullish on it, but Labour and the Conservatives aren't. However, it's going to be costly -- we'd have to have a total voter-system upgrade that we can ill afford.

AV can open the door to extremely far-Left or extremely far-Right parties. You Aussies have had the experience in Queensland where the One Nation Party won 11 seats under AV wheras under a "first past the post" system, they'd have won 8. Under the FPTP system we have, the noxious BNP made gains -- then completely lost them the following elections. Under AV, the BNP would no doubt have preserved their presence in Parliament.

I just don't think anything can improve the classic "one person, one vote" system.

Thu, Apr. 28th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)

As for your point about AV opening the door to extreme parties, both myself and Antony Green would beg to differ. The theory is that extreme parties actually get pushed out because most people will preference against them. Of course, the reality is that most people blindly follow the how-to-vote card of the party they prefer, which is why One Nation won 11 seats on the back of Liberal Party and National Party preferences. In the following election they were decimated because the Coalition learnt not to underestimate them. Pauline Hanson herself also lost her seat even though she polled ahead of all the other candidates because no one would direct preferences to her. So, even though One Nation would have won fewer seats in the first election under FPTP, they would have retained more using that system in later elections. I can't comment on the BNP though, except to say that if the major parties in your country also treat it as a "pariah party" the outcome would likely be the same.

I just don't think anything can improve the classic "one person, one vote" system.

I think we're all in agreement on that point! I lived in Queensland during its notorious "gerrymandering" period so I concur most enthusiastically. That's a separate issue to AV though.

But I don't really want to get into a fight with you. I don't expect to change your voting intention and I doubt either of us will be having any impact on anyone's voting intention via this forum anyway. If I really cared about the subject I suppose I'd be debating this in various UK media websites, trying to give an Australian perspective, although of course the model you're voting on is not exactly the same as what we use here (except in Queensland for state elections) and in fact I'd rather adopt it than the one we have here. (That is, what you call AV we call optional preferential voting, whereas we're stuck with compulsory preferential voting, where you have to assign preferences to all the candidates to have a valid vote.)

Edited at 2011-04-28 08:25 am (UTC)

Thu, Apr. 28th, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)

Oh, I wasn't looking to argue with you, Marko. Not at all. I just thought this post was extremely relevant as I live in the U.K., and just couldn't resist adding my thoughts to the issue. I can see the argument in favor of AV, and that was a well-done, informative video; I enjoyed it. I can certainly also see the downside of the FPTP system when third-party candidates get involved, because that's the only way the clueless Governor of Massachusetts got re-elected. The AV probably suits Australia's needs but I think Britain is too entrenched in the classic voting system, as is America, and for me, the biggest issue is the cost of reforming the voting system. For me, it's more of a "No to £250 million we can't afford" issue, rather than "No to AV," even though the AV does make me nervous. It's predicted to be defeated here in Britain anyway. But hey, it's all cool, I just wanted a say, not an argument.