Ok, so I’ll come right out and say it, I’m intending to be a No To AV voter. This opinion has been questioned a lot by most of my friends of late. Sometimes nicely, sometimes curiously, other times heatedly and (rarely) insultingly. So I thought it best to post this here to save me explaining myself time and again today. Please read below to find things you may not agree with…
I’m all for reforming the system we have, it’s not entirely representative or “fair” (although “fair” is a very divisive and completely subjective term). I just think the proposed AV system is a poor, with more cons than pros when compared to what we have and other systems that are out there. My reasons for this briefly are:
1 – I like the “One person – One vote” principle. If you vote for a loon that gets 3 votes why should you get a say (and perhaps the deciding say) between other more reasonable candidates. You could have voted for them initially, you didn’t, so don’t cry about it now.
2 – “Fringe” voters (far right and left wings, and extremist independents) have their votes (working down their prefs) counted more than “Mainstream” voters. In fact the more crazy/unpopular your initial vote and subsequent preferences are the more carry-overs you’re likely to get.
3 – It’s my opinion that this AV system will lead to the main parties trying to appeal to fringe voters to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th prefs. I can even see politicians campaigning solely for 2nd/3rd pref votes. This would mean either you have parties standing for everything (so effectively nothing) or some more distasteful extremist ideas coming into mainstream parties agendas simply so they can get 2nd/3rd prefs.
4 – If you vote for the more popular candidates your 1st choice will be compared to the previously mentioned “Fringe”/extremists 3rd, 4th, 5th etc… prefs and given equal weight. Which, to be honest, just seems insulting.
5 – If you vote for one of the more popular candidates that makes it to the last few “rounds” no-one will every look at your other choices, even though your 1st choice is being compared directly to others 3rd, 4th, 5th prefs. Mathematically speaking, this could be incredibly important as the result could be completely different if these were considered or weighting were applied to popular candidate’s voters further prefs.
6 – There are huge transparency issues. I’d want to know how many of which preference level each candidate got and from whom, but it would be a nightmare to work out what actually happened, even with all that data available. This won’t help the public trust their MPs more but probably less.
7 – I think it could only weaken the stability of our democracy. Honestly I don’t think it would have a dramatic effect on this front, but the only thing it could do is provide more hung parliaments and shaky deal making between parties. My point here being it won’t make it more stable only less.
To me the proposed AV system just seems an inherently unfair and essentially flawed. I think we need to move on from the system we have, but I’m not going to vote for a change just so we can then have a hope of changing again which (no insult to anyone who is voting yes) but seems to be the reason most have for told me for their intention to vote yes. It seems largely to be “I don’t like this AV system, but we might get to change again to something that works if we go to this now”.
Any who, there are a few of my reasons (oh, I have more) for my intended no vote. Feel free to pull me apart or tell me I “just don’t understand” the proposed AV system in the comments section below.