Ten weeks from today we will be going to the polls to decide whether or not we want to keep our first-past-the-post voting system. I will be campaigning hard over that time against AV which I think is a fundamentally unfair system.
It is dangerous to patronise voters but AV is complex and too many people make mistakes with it. The voting for the London Mayor uses the AV system and I noted almost three years ago that 41,000 Londoners, 1.7% of the electorate lost their first vote as a result of the complexity of the system. I said back in 2008:
Anyone at the counts will know how many people wasted their votes as a result of being confused by this system. Some people put the numerals 1 and 2 in the left-hand column – both votes rejected. Many people put two crosses in the left hand column – both votes rejected. 41,000 or 1.7% of first preference votes were rejected. 412,000 or 17% of second preferences were rejected and 408,000 or 17% of voters didn’t bother with the second vote.
If 17% of second votes aren’t even counted you have to start asking some hard questions. This was the third time AV has been used for this election so it is no use arguing that voters were inexperienced.
The second reason I think it is unfair, as Carmeron says in the video, is that it gives a minority of voters two bites of the cherry. So, for instance, the left can appear to be much bigger than it is. The Marxist entryists in the Green Party can vote once for the Greens and then vote again for the Labour Party.
AV is complex and unfair. FPTP is a bit harsh but very transparent. Bit like me!