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The Alternative Vote

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Got this thru the post yesterday for the elections in may, how are you gonna vote and how is it really gonna effect us?

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What is the Alternative Vote? :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12892836

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/interactive/2010/may/10/proportional-representation-alternative-vote-plus

The Alternative Vote (AV) is very much like First-Past-the-Post (FPTP). Like FPTP, it is used to elect representatives for single-member constituencies, except that rather than simply marking one solitary 'X' on the ballot paper, the voter has the chance to rank the candidates on offer.

The voter thus puts a '1' by their first-preference candidate, and can continue, if they wish, to put a '2' by their second-preference, and so on, until they don't care anymore or they run out of names. In some AV elections, such as most Australian elections, electors are required to rank all candidates.

If a candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes (more people put them as number one than all the rest combined), then they are elected.

If no candidate gains a majority on first preferences, then the second-preference votes of the candidate who finished last on the first count are redistributed. This process is repeated until someone gets over 50 per cent.

Q&A: Alternative vote referendum

A referendum will be held in May on whether to change the system for electing MPs. Here is a guide to the issue.

What will the referendum be about?

It will ask the public whether they want to replace the existing first-past-the-post system for electing MPs to Westminster with a method known as the alternative vote.

What is the current voting system?

For Westminster elections, it's first-past-the-post. The candidate who gets the most votes in their constituency is elected as the MP.

And how is a government formed?

If one party gets an overall majority in Parliament - more MPs than all the other parties put together - they form the government. If no party gets an overall majority it is called a hung parliament. In this situation, as happened after the 2010 general election, two or more parties would be expected to work together to form a government. The system for forming a government would not change as a result of changes to the way MPs are elected.

Why do critics want the way MPs are elected changed?

They say too many votes are effectively wasted under the current system, with elections decided by a small number of voters in a handful of seats where no single party has a large majority. This discourages people from voting and makes them disengage with the political process. A key weakness of first-past-the-post, they say, is that two thirds of MPs are now elected with less than 50% of support of voters and this undermines democracy. They argue a different system will provide voters with more choice, force candidates to appeal to a broader section of the public and work harder to get elected.

How is alternative vote different?

The alternative vote - widely referred to as AV - system sees voters rank candidates in order of preference in single constituencies. People can nominate as many preferences as they like. Only first preference votes are counted initially. Anyone getting more than 50% of these is elected automatically. If that doesn't happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second choices allocated to the remaining candidates in a second round of counting. If one candidate then has more than 50% of the votes in this round they are elected. If not, the remaining candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second preferences (or third preferences if they were the second choice of someone who voted for the first candidate to be eliminated) reallocated. This continues until one candidate has 50% or more of the vote in that round of counting.

What do opponents of the change say?

Defenders of the current system say it generally leads to stable government and has historically reflected the will of the public in that unpopular governments have been voted out. They argue that first-past-the-post is straightforward and easy to understand. They say parties get elected on a manifesto and are expected to implement it, while under other systems more likely to produce indecisive outcomes, the government is decided after the election by horse-trading and "political fixes".

Why is a referendum being held?

A referendum on the alternative vote was not included in either the Conservative or Lib Dem election manifestos. However, the Conservatives - who largely oppose changes to the system - conceded a vote on AV as part of their offer to the Lib Dems in negotiations to form a government after the election. The Lib Dems have long urged changes to the voting system and although the AV system is not their preferred choice, they believe it is a first step towards a fairer system.

Is the alternative vote system proportional representation?

No. Parties could still form a government with less than 50% of first choice votes. Campaigners such as the Electoral Reform Society want a proportional system where the number of seats a party wins is more closely aligned with the number of votes they get. For many years, the Lib Dems have supported the more proportional single transferable vote system.

What if I only want to vote for one candidate?

If someone votes for just one one candidate under AV, their vote will be counted once in each round that takes place. But any further preferences they could have stated will not be taken into account.

How do electoral systems work elsewhere?

Voting for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly is done through what is known as an additional member system. Some representatives are elected via the traditional first-past-the-post method but voters get to cast a second vote for "top-up" seats, allocated in proportion to the number of votes. In Northern Ireland local and Assembly elections, voting is done on a single transferable vote basis which sees more than one candidate elected from a single constituency. Voters number candidates in order of preference and all those passing a defined threshold are elected. Their surplus votes are distributed to other candidates on the basis of other preferences with low-scoring candidates progressively eliminated.

When will the referendum take place?

It will take place on 5 May 2011, the same day as elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and local elections in many parts of England. Holding it then will save money as voters are already going to the polls across much of the UK, the government says.

Is everyone happy with this date?

No. Many Conservatives say the proposed date is misconceived. They say it will lead to different levels of turnout in different parts of the UK and produce a distorted result. People in areas of the country where no other votes are taking place - such as London - will have less impetus to take part than in Scotland and Wales, they argue. More than 40 Tory MPs called for the poll to be put back. Parties in Scotland and Wales are also angry, saying the referendum will detract from the devolved elections and might confuse voters.

Has Parliament approved the referendum?

Yes, but only after a prolonged battle between the Commons and the Lords. The most controversial issue was whether there should be a threshold on turnout which meant the referendum would not have been binding if less than 40% of the public took part. Peers voted to support the move on several occasions but eventually backed down after MPs said they would not back it.

Is campaigning officially under way?

Yes, it is. The official Yes and No campaigns have been planning for the poll and mobilising support for many months. They stress they are cross-party movements, drawing support from different sections of society and not tied to any one political party. The two campaigns do not want to be seen to be dominated by politicians, believing this will turn off voters. Both have unveiled names of celebrity supporters who they say are backing their cause. The two sides are set to discuss the issues head-to-head at independent debates arranged by the media and other organisations.

Where do the leading parties stand?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are on different sides of the argument. The prime minister supports retaining first-past-the-post while his deputy is campaigning for a switch to AV. Their views reflect the positions of most of their MPs and activists. Labour leader Ed Miliband says he will campaign for a yes vote in the referendum but Labour is split on the issue of electoral change with many frontbenchers supporting it but senior party figures, such as Lord Prescott and David Blunkett, opposed.

What about other parties?

Most smaller parties seem to be officially in favour of a change to AV although many would prefer a proportional system. Here's a party-by-party guide.

What question will voters actually be asked?

The government proposed the following question: Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the "alternative vote" system instead of the current "first past the post" system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons? Yes or no?

In September, the Electoral Commission recommended the question be redrafted to make it "easier to understand". It said the public had a "limited understanding" of the voting systems they were being asked to decide between and this should be clarified.

It suggested this revised version: At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead'? Yes or no?

Parliament agreed to use this version of the question.

How much is the referendum costing?

Critics and advocates of change have clashed over the cost of the referendum and the financial implications of moving to a different system. The No campaign has said the poll will cost about £90m to stage and that an extra £156m will be incurred in switching to AV. The Yes campaign have accused their rivals of "lies", saying their claims are largely based on the alleged cost of introducing electronic counting machines when these are not required for AV elections and the government has confirmed they will not be used whatever the outcome of the referendum. The government has said holding the referendum on the same day as other elections around the UK will save about £17m.

When will the outcome be known?

The election is overseen by the Electoral Commission. Votes will begin to be counted at 1600 GMT on 6 May, the day after the poll. The outcome of the referendum is expected to be known later that evening.

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is that the one on 5th of May?

i didnt even know what the hell it was about but yesterday (or was it Thursday?) the Labour candidate was on my street and came round askin whop I may be voting for, told man straight cons will never get my vote n lib dems can eat a d*ck, pretty much dont have many other choices.

so he was talkin to me about that, still have no idea what im voting for

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I think a lot of people may vote no purely to stick a middle finger up to Clegg.

Which is short-sighted, but a little understandable.

Not even sure about this system, but they all have their faults.

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i think there will be way more hung parliments tho

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erm, how do they count the votes? im sure in like the 2005 election or whenever it was i saw them just picking them and putting in different boxes? how they gonna do that when it says 1,2,3 etc

or is it done on computer?

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no way

keep it as it is

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Pointless tbh, from someone who thinks the voting system needs to be completely overhauled.

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im bit confussed about it at the moment tbh, keep looking at it as a chance to give sh*t cunts more of a chance to have power.

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If it makes the voting system more fair. Than I say YES.

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thats what Lib Dems are saying

but after believing them like one of my hoes who thinks i love her, i was betrayed.

they can go suck on somthing, Labour or Green Party from now on, Ill see if we have a monster raving loony party member

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If it makes the voting system more fair. Than I say YES.

/

Have yet to see a viable argument against it

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should stay the way it is

and

I think a lot of people may vote no purely to stick a middle finger up to Clegg.

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Lib Dems promised to take actions to make voting fairer and more representative. They were offered this bullshit or told to shut up by Conservatives. It will accomplish very very little, waste loads of money and time, and probably not even get passed. Conservatives stay laughing, Lib Dems stay trying to cling on to whatever crumbs are laid out for them...

Pissed if you're a liberal democrat tbh

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Should not have it vote no

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yea imma say no to spite Lib Dems, dnt even care fits fairer or whatever

f*ck off

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get me everyone should just say no f*ck over them pussyole lib dems coz the boyage they done last year is some next violation

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still dont know what to vote :/

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No...

Forget this 50% of the vote crap, If you win, you win.

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Still not sure how I'm gonna vote on this tbh.

I'm thinking I'll put 'No' as my preferred option, then 'Yes' as my #2.

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PMSLLLLL

:lol::lol::lol:

POS

On a side note, has anyone sent it back?

It was so f*ck*ng confusing. Should of just been one paper, one envelope.

They decide with 2 envelopes, 2 papers, 1 cut off, 2 stickers... :huh:

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I'm going to vote yes.

It's more representative than FTP, even if it isn't the most representative system.

If it turns out to be no, we have another x amount of years with either Labour/Conservatives constantly ruling with parties like Green not getting a look in and they are becoming increasingly important, imo.

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