poplarmark

Mark – my words

Additional votes for some?

Matthew Rees claims in his blog that AV means Additional Votes (for some). He’s wrong, because he is failing to make the critical distinction between votes, which result in a candidate being elected as MP, and preferences, which guide the returning officer towards the selection of the candidate who wins.

If you indicate preferences 1st for Green, then 2nd for Labour, when your vote transfers from Green to Labour it becomes a Labour vote for the purposes of electing the MP. The Green vote that was your first preference was eliminated, along with the candidate, though the preference remains.

Two parties could claim to have your support, based on your preferences, but not on your final vote (though we might want to question what use support is to a party when their candidate has been eliminated from the race). The Green party can legitimately claim that they had X first preferences, or even that they had that many votes before they were eliminated, but the fact remains that they were eliminated, and those votes all went to other parties, or dropped out of the reckoning because some voters expressed no further preferences.

In summary, your preferences may very well have twice as much effect on the claims that parties make about the levels of support they enjoy in the electorate as a Tory voter’s single preference, but in terms of the effect on electing the MP, your vote counted for exactly the same as the Tory voter’s – one vote, no more, no less.

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4 responses to “Additional votes for some?

  1. Matthew Rees 2011-04-03 at 19:40

    This does not disprove my argument at all.
    In the example I gave (me voting Green/Labour, another person voting just Green and another voting just Labour) none of our votes count at the end of the day as my constituency is a Tory/Lib Dem marginal. Under AV we all have zero votes and we don’t count in the final result that delivers a 50% “majority” to one candidate.
    All that we have is the preferences that we expressed before our votes were discarded and the Greens will be able to claim two supporters and so will Labour. The one vote that I cast has exactly the same effect as the combined votes of the other two people. My vote has counted for more than theirs.

    • poplarmark 2011-04-03 at 19:51

      Your argument seems to have degenerated into sour grapes.

      In a Tory/LibDem marginal, votes for Green or Labour are basically doomed to be losing votes. AV is a majoritarian system, not a proportional one. The likelihood is that in your constituency either Conservatives or LibDems will win, because whether you like it or not, more people vote for those parties than for the parties you’d prefer to see winning. A vote for any other party still counts, even though it doesn’t get you an MP of the flavour you prefer.

  2. Trooper Thompson 2011-04-13 at 22:43

    I think I’m going to spoil my ballot with an anti EU slogan.

    • poplarmark 2011-04-14 at 07:37

      Go ahead and spoil your ballot; but don’t imagine that anyone is going to take any notice of what you write on it. Not even the counter who places it in the pile of spoiled papers, who is bored and has seen it all before.

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