Mark – my words
Three arguments for AV and against FPTP
2011-03-17Posted by on
I was challenged on Twitter by @ticobas :
Hi Mark, what in your view are the best three arguments FOR #AV, aka the three biggest problems with #FPTP?
Here is my response.
- AV gives MPs more legitimacy by requiring a higher level of support: the AV winner requires “more votes than the other candidates put together“. FPTP on the other hand allows your MP to be elected with a minority of votes, when majority of voters might positively disfavour the winner. (Technically, FPTP allows the Condorcet loser to win, AV does not.)
- AV Encourages honest voting for truly preferred candidates: voters need have no fear that their vote will be wasted by giving it to a minority candidate; conversely, FPTP encourages dishonest, tactical voting. (Technically, tactical voting is possible in AV but it is problematic and risky. See this LSE paper.)
- AV is a simple evolution of the familiar current FPTP system; it retains the constituency link, it is very similar to vote in (instead of X, you mark 1, 2, 3, …), it is very similar to count and won’t take much longer; it produces arguably equally decisive results nationally – no more likely to result in coalitions than FPTP. But it is a system that is better adapted to our multi-party electoral environment. FPTP really only works when the contest is two-way. See the IPPR report downloadable from here.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to comment – I promise to approve all non-spam comments.