LDV readers say: yes to Alternative Vote over first-past-the-post

Cast your minds back 10 days, and there was a flurry of excitement at the prospect of Gordon Brown deciding to do something radical, and reform the voting system. It wasn’t long before the Prime Minister was back-tracking to make clear that he was simply in favour of reviewing the situation. But still the prospect of voting reform prompted LDV to ask the forced question: “Should Lib Dems back the Alternative Vote in a referendum if it’s the only option for voting reform?”

Here’s what you told us:

51% (175 votes): Yes, it’s better than first-past-the-post
35% (122): No, we should hold out for a truly proportional system
9% (32): No, we should stick with first-past-the-post
5% (16): Other
Total Votes: 345. Poll ran: 10th-17th June 2009

So, there you have it – though it may not be a proportional voting system, a bare majority of LDV readers would rather opt for the Alternative Vote over first-past-the-post.

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13 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 20th Jun '09 - 11:16am

    Curious. Why do they like AV? Why do LDV readers support a system that would yield a larger Tory or Labour majority (whichever screwed up least recently), at the expense of Lib Dem seats?

    Is this some kind of “well someday we’ll be in power and then have the strong majority” thing?

  • Paul Griffiths 20th Jun '09 - 11:36am

    @Andrew: I’d hope it’s more of a “If you merge adjacent AV constituencies together you’d have STV so it’s a step in the right direction” thing. Misguided, in my view.

  • This is a difficult call. I am usually not keen on ‘stepping stones’ as each move needs another push and can become a barrier to progress. But I do think that introducing preferential voting is a worthwile prize by itself. It depends on how much influence/clout we have. It does not have to lead to AV +, it could lead to the bouundary commision introducing multi member seats=STV

  • Andrew Duffield 20th Jun '09 - 11:51am

    “Why do LDV readers support a system that would yield a larger Tory or Labour majority (whichever screwed up least recently), at the expense of Lib Dem seats?”

    Possibly because not all LDV readers are Liberal Democrats.

  • Andrew Suffield wrote: “Curious. Why do they like AV?”

    After switching to the AV all you have to do is unite the current single-member constituencies to multi-member constituencies, and voilà! You’ll have STV. So you could see the AV as a step to the STV.

  • You have also lost me as ro why AV would lead to bigger Tory or Labour majorities, surely we would pick upo a hell of a lot of second preference votes as generally labour voters won’t vote tory and vice versa

  • AV is stepping stone to nowhere. If Gordon Brown is in favour of it, it must be a bad idea. I can’t believe so many LDVers would vote for it.

  • It ought to be obvious that STV is not going to happen overnight. Blimey, AV not going to happen as we’ve missed the bus on that one.

    AV is a stepping stone. It introduces the principle of preferential voting, which the voters ought to like.

    Anything else, like a list PR system would be far worse. The chances of moving from AV+ to proper STV must be remote.

    there are some Liberal Democrats who are desperate for NO sort of influence they’d rather spend another ineffective 90 years than live in the real world.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd Jun '09 - 7:46am

    I get why LDs support AV: it’s preference voting, so it looks like it’s better than what we’ve got. And as a method of choosing someone for a single office (a Speaker or a mayor, say) it has some merit (though I think exhaustive ballots are better). But as a way of selecting MPs it’s no improvement in respect of the important issues: majority governments elected on minority votes; effective disenfranchisement of vast swathes of the electorate; untouchable MPs in safe seats.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd Jun '09 - 9:24am

    Of course, more LD seats would be pretty irrelevant if accompanied by increased majorities for the largest party. (Whether that would happen under AV is unclear, but is said to have been likely in 1997,and may be again in 2010.) We would have (quite legitimately) more influence with 30 MPs in a hung parliament than with 60 MPs facing a secure parliamentary majority, as now.

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