Referendum: AV or FPTP?

I've been following discussions on this and I've thought about the difference between Alternative Vote and First Past The Post quite a bit. Really I'd prefer to see some form of Proportional Representation but AV is the very modest step towards better democracy that we're allowed to consider for now.

This image: [Let's 'AV a Beer] struck me as putting the case for AV simply.

What do you think? Is AV fairer? Is it too complicated for some people, asking them to put candidates in order of preference? Is there any truth in the idea that it gives some people more than one vote? Would it take long to sort a few hundred voting slips of the least popular candidate into second preference piles or is the claim that it would require expensive machines deliberately misleading?

Your thoughts please. We could even have a poll on it here!


I am supporting the no campaign because AV is not a good form of PR. It is actually very unfair. Why should some people get more than one vote and others only one? I think the referendum was rushed through and a big waste of money and I hope we are not stuck with AV. There are three countries in the world that have AV, they are looking to get rid of it. It leads to weak government and backroom deals with currently smaller parties such as the BNP or communist parties, who could have a say in a coalition under AV to gain power. There are other Forms of Proportional Representation that are far fairer, and less likely to cause a weak government, such as Single transferable Vote or Party List, but don't be persuaded to go for a failing system in the hope that it maybe a stepping stone.It would take probably another thirty years or so to get another referendum on this issue. 4 out of 5 politicians (across all parties)are in favour of keeping the fairer First past the post.

Fairer votes: AV!

I agree that AV isn't a good form of PR - I'm not sure anyone claims it's PR at all. No, it's just a way to try to ensure that MPs have broader support of their electorate. How can that be a bad thing? It's the system that's used by the main political parties to elect their leaders, so why should they deny it to us - what are they scared of?

Unfortunately AV is the only alternative to First Past The Post (our current system) we're being offered. AV is quite a bit fairer than FPTP because it takes greater account of people's choices so it's more democratic.

It's not true to say that under AV some people get more than one vote. Each person gets one ballot paper and only one of their choices will eventually count towards the result. The luckier ones (most, in fact) get their first choice counted so they get what they really want; those less fortunate get their second or third choice counted but still only once.

I'd rather have proper PR but this is our chance for a slightly better system so I don't want to throw it away. Miss this chance and say goodbye to any other changes for the forseeable future.

FPTP is ok for those who like the results it gives. It's only real advantage is that it's the simplest but it's a poor form of voting and not very democratic.

A chance for my vote to count

Like Sarah, I don't think AV is the best form of PR. I wish that Nick Clegg had held out for a change to proper Proportional Representation.

Are you campaigning for us to have proper PR, Sarah?

Like Andrew, I think AV is worth supporting as a first step towards proper PR. If we don't grab this opportunity of fairer Democracy now, it will be a long time before we get the chance again, if ever.

Sarah, you have misunderstood the way AV works. No-one gets more than one vote, but with AV my one vote could be looked at a second time and taken into account instead of being thrown into the bin as it is with First Past the Post.

With FPTP, it's possible for a government to be elected on only 30% of the votes cast. That would leave 70% of voters unrepresented.

In this country, we pride ourselves on inventing Democracy, so let's have a fairer, more democratic version of it for our own citizens.

Never had it so good

Floods, cyclones, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdown in Japan, chaos in the Arab world - including Bin Laden being killed.

Here in the UK, we have just enjoyed the spectacle of a Royal Wedding which took our minds off the recession for a short while. Now we are discussing the merits of the current voting system. We are obviously enjoying life far too much!

If Corfe Coffee obtained a liquor licence, we could go to the coffee house and drink beer - let's make everyone happy.

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