FAIR VOTES RALLY

NOVANEWS

15-05-2010
Fed up with the new coalition government already? Campaigners for a fairer voting system will be staging a “purple protest” in Birmingham’s Victoria Square outside the Council House at 2pm today (Saturday).
Here’s an explanation from the organisers of the Take Back Parliament campaign who are organising a series of simultaneous demos around the country this afternoon, including one in London:
The new coalition government has promised a referendum on the Alternative Vote* method of electing MPs.
AV is a small step in the right direction, and an improvement on our broken and outdated system of “first past the post”, but it’s not the same as fair votes.
We welcome the fact reform of our out-dated system is finally on the table, but as it stands this is not enough as the choice is being restricted to two flawed options. The public must not be denied the choice of a fair proportional voting system in any referendum.
Reform of the voting system is so fundamental to our democracy that it should be decided by the people not the private vested interests of the parties. We will be gathering in Parliament Square and across the country on Saturday at 2pm to demand “fair votes, fair choice”.
Sign the petition for fair votes here.
The Alternative Vote is similar to First Past the Post, expect instead of marking an “X” in a box voters are allowed to rank candidates (1, 2, 3 etc) according to their preferences.
If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice preferences then they are elected. If no majority is received on first preference votes, then second preferences are counted (and then third, and so on) until a candidate receives a majority.
The Alternative Vote has several advantages over the current system:

  • It allows voters to rank the candidates (1, 2, 3 etc), eliminating the need to vote tactically.
  • It means that MPs have the support of a majority of their constituents.

However, AV is not a proportional system and therefore does not deal with the key unfairness in the current system which is that a party’s share of seats in Parliament does not reflect the number of votes it receives. AV is not fair votes, though it is a step towards a fairer system.

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