av, alternative vote, first past the post, electoral reform, voting change

To vote about voting

av, alternative vote, first past the post, electoral reform, voting changeIn May this year the UK will hold a referendum to decide whether to change our voting system or not.

Currently we have a first past the post system. This means that we each get one vote. The candidate with the most votes wins the constituency, and the party that reaches the majority wins.

Alternative Vote (AV) would mean we put first, second and third choices. The choice with more than 50% of first votes wins. If this does not occur the choice with least votes is eliminated and their second choice from these ballots is added to the pot, until one party has more than 50% of the total vote.

This means that people’s second and third choices will be included rather than only their first choices.

The simplest way to explain AV and it’s issues is to look at an episode of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

The gang is debating on what colour to paint the shed and they cannot agree, so they propose a vote.

Each of them writes their first colour choice and their second colour choice on the mocked up ballot papers.

The final colour chosen is yellow. None of the gang wanted yellow and when asked who put the first choice as yellow, it turns out that no-one did but it won as no two people had the same first choice.

 This is the first major issue to divide the current coalition. Clegg is in support of AV, whereas Cameron would like to keep the current system.

Many believe that this is because the AV system gives more opportunity for the smaller parties to compete with the big two (Tories and Labour).

Most of the public that JournoBarbie has spoken to agree that we do need change but AV is not the way.

Amy, 25, from Manchester said: “I find it really confusing but from what I have heard about it, it just seems like the people who want the vote to change only want it so that they can get into power rather than it just being the Tories and Labour all of the time.”

Dave, 50, from Hull said: “There definitely needs to be some sort of change but I don’t agree with AV or first past the post, I’m concerned that we will end up with no-one’s first choice in power.”

Whatever you think about it, it is important to have your say and vote May 5 2011.

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