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Posts for May 3, 2011

Let’s All Say “Yes”

This morning I heard John Humphrys haul the Prime Minister over the coals regarding the behaviour of the “No to AV” campaign. Cameron tried to separate the “Conservative No” campaign from the rest of the No campaign, while failing to condemn the outright lies told by the broader campaign. It was a remarkable piece of squirming, and decidedly unconvincing.

He then went on to use the “one person one vote” argument. This asserts that under AV, some people’s votes are counted more than once. It ignores the fact that every voter can specify a list of preferences, of course, but it also seems to take an over-literal interpretation of the word “count”. True, if my first preference is eliminated (under AV), my second preference is counted, which means that in some sense my ballot paper (or the entries on it) must be counted again; but ultimately the preferences I state are only applied towards one candidate. My paper only “counts” towards one person.

Alternatively, consider it a minor redefinition of what a “vote” is. Instead of meaning a single “X” placed in a single box, it means a set of one or more preferences specified on a ballot paper. “One person, one paper,” you could say.

And last night I heard a “Referendum Broadcast” by the No campaign. It was incredibly stupid, too; and again by being over-literal. It analogised an AV-based election as a horse race, in which horse A came first, but the victory was awarded to third-placed horse C. Everyone was very confused. Because AV is so complex that nobody can understand it.

Here’s a picture that shows the complexities of the two systems.

Come on, say “Yes” on Thursday.