For the first time in our history, voters in the UK are to be given a choice of voting system. The planned referendum will take place on 5th May 2011.
The Alternative Vote will ensure that every MP has at least 50% support in their constituency. Our present system (First-Past-The-Post) only ensures the largest minority elect our MPs. This can mean as little as 1 in 4 votes counting and the majority of voters being ignored.
The Alternative Vote is as simple as 1,2,3. Instead of just placing an X next to a candidate as at present, the voter gets to rank the candidates in order of their preference. This gives voters far more power and removes the need for 'tactical' voting and having to 'second guess' what others might vote. Voters can now show their real first preference in the knowledge that their second, third choices etc. will not be harmed.
AV is used throughout the world, most notably Australia and Ireland and a version of it is used to elect the London Mayor. It is also used by MPs to elect the speaker and the Labour party to elect their leader. In fact all the UK political parties, Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and others use preferential voting to elect their leaders and for their other internal elections. None of them use First-Past-The-Post.
Isn't it time we had the same say as politicians give themselves? Vote YES to the Alternative Vote in the referendum in May.
Some advantages of the Alternative Vote over our present system
1. EVERY MP needs 50% of the vote to be elected under AV. Presently under 'first-past-the-post' only 1 in 3 MPs achieve this.
2. There will be less 'safe seats'. Currently 70% of seats will never change hands. Politicians will have to campaign harder in more areas to win our support. Safe seats breed corrupt and inept politicians.
3. An end to 'tactical voting'. Voters can show their REAL preferences and not have to worry about wasting their vote or trying to second guess what other people will vote in an desperate attempt to make their vote worth something.
4. AV is more proportional. Long term analysis of elections in Australia show AV awards seats to votes more fairly than first-past-the-post.
5. It is harder for extremists to be elected. The BNP would need 50% of the vote to be elected under AV. As little as 25% support wins them seats under first-past-the-post.
6. Lessens negative campaigning. Parties need second and third preferences of other party supporters, so need to be careful in being too negative about them.