Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AV Referendum

This is a debate/topic that has recently been thrown up in the news prior to the coming referendum. So should we stay or should we go?

The current first past the post system means that each candidate votes and the party with the majority of the votes in the constituency wins the seat in Parliament. To win a general election the minimum number of seats needed is 326, this creates a majority and the winning party then form a government. This in comparison to the AV is relatively simple.

Alternative Vote is carried out in a similar way to that of first past the post. Each constituency votes for the candidate they want to represent them, however the votes are counted differently. Instead of a solitary X next to the candidates name, voters are required to list their preferences, putting a 1 next to the candidate they want to represent them, a 2 next to their second preference and so on.
If one party receive a majority of first preference votes, meaning that they are have more first preference votes than the all the others combined then they win the election and form the government. On the other hand, if a majority is not achieved then the second preferences of the party that got the least first preferences are counted. For example if party D got the least amount of first preference votes, then those who voted for them have their second preference counted. This continues until there is a majority.
There are good points and bad points for both systems and at the end of the day the country will decide on the 5th of may how they want the voting system to be. I would lean to wards the Alternative vote system, for the fact that it lessens tactical voting, and eliminates pressure of your vote being wasted. However it is a system that is complex. I feel that the simplicity of the First Past The Post system is good but it creates nasty political campaigns as politicians try to win over a constituency that doesn't particularly vote one way or the other.

What do you think and how do you think the country will vote?

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