In two day’s time, our electoral system could radically change. And if it does, it will not be for the better.
The nation will have to choose between our current electoral system of First pass the post (FPTP) or a new system called Alternative Vote (AV), where voters not only choose their No. 1 candidate, but also can list other candidates in order of preference.
This posting is to explain what AV is (most don’t have the foggiest) and why, as Catholics and, equally as citizens, its implementation would be disastrous for our country.
Under FPTP, the candidate with the most votes wins. It’s that simple.
Under AV, the person with the most votes doesn’t necessary win. What? Let me explain (now pay attention, it does get complicated).
To get elected, a candidate must get at least 50% of the votes available. So what happens if no candidate achieves this? Firstly, remember that voters can list more than one candidate in an order of preference (however, voters are free to list only one candidate).
When there is no majority choice, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and all second preference candidates (who are still in the contest) on the ballot papers of the eliminated candidate, receive that vote. If this doesn’t produce a clear majority vote for a candidate (50% or more), then the process repeats with the redistribution of the votes of the next candidate with the least votes based on the 3rd preference.
So what is so wrong with that?
Under FPTP, you vote for the person who you want to represent you. If you don’t care, you don’t vote.
Under AV, candidates will get into power by receiving “second-rated” votes, quite likely ticked without proper thought or insight into the candidates worthiness.
AV violates the nature of the vote and will take advantage of people’s apathy to politics.
It is also wide open to tactical abuse. This is more complicated to explain, but put simply, parties will get supporters to vote in such a way that their candidates are less likely to be eliminated. And this isn’t a simple case of listing preference. Confused? This link should explain it better: http://www.av2011.co.uk/Q8.html
If AV does get in, then the only choice we have is to tick the box next to the candidate of choice (affectively voting like under FPTP). Therefore your vote cannot be transferred to another candidate.
FPTP is not a perfect system, but it is fairer, more transparent and proportional than AV. Know where your vote goes. Vote “NO”.