Yesterday, like most other people in the UK, I also voted in the council elections and the AV (Alternate Vote) referendum.A choice of changing the voting system looks interesting. There has been lot of debates over the proposed AV system.The ‘Yes to AV’ camp and ‘No to AV’ camp had been campaigning hard, rallying politicians and celebrities behind them.Our letterbox was overflowing with so many leaflets explaining why we should vote yes/No to AV.
Alternate Vote is a good concept. Originally, the idea was to give more proportional representation and make sure the winner has the support of atleast half of the voters. But I am not sure what is the best way of practically achieving it when nobody has got a clear majority.
The proposed AV is like this- (Or this is what I understood after watching debates and reading lot of leaflets on the topic for past few weeks) Everybody can mark their first , second,third.. preferences while voting, instead of voting for a single candidate.If candidate A with highest votes gets more than 50% of the votes, he is declared winner. Other wise, the candidate with least votes is eliminated and the second preferences of his voters are counted and added to the remaining candidates’ baskets. At this point, if somebody gets more than 50%, he will be winner.Otherwise , the process continues eliminating least scoring candidates and counting second,third,forth… preferences of those voters until a definite winner is reached.
Does this look complicated to you? Well, it does to me and a lot of other voters in the UK. I took some time to grasp the complex logic.I think the main issue is that it is very complicated and it looks unfair counting the votes of same people again and again, just to force a majority when there is none. It would lead to more coalitions, more horse trading and back door deals as opposed to voters electing a clear winner.
AV was proposed by Liberal Democrats who were always at the third place and do not get enough seats to rule. It was just a ploy to get more seats for Nick Clegg and his party and not for anything in public interest. Lib Dems seemed a promising lot while campaigning during the last elections but their popularity is at an all-time low right now, thanks to the many U-turns on their promises, the biggest being the tuition fees increase. Even if people of the UK votes for Yes to AV in the referendum, it might not save the Lib Dems now.
When I started writing this post, I thought of including a picture from the ‘No to AV’ campaign leaflet. But I could not find it anywhere. So I will just describe it. It shows the end of a race with four runners in it, with the winner on the finishing line. There is a text next to the guy at the second position which reads “Under AV, he will be the winner”. I thought it was hilarious and pretty much sums up the AV stuff. If I can find it somewhere, I will definitely take a photo of that and upload it.