Thursday, 21 April 2011

How the Alternative Vote (AV) system works

A lot of people still aren't sure how AV works and this isn't helped by the Yes campaign not explaining it and the No campaign lying about it. So here's a simple explanation that doesn't take ages to read:

Under AV you get the same ballot paper you do at the moment but instead of putting a cross next to your favourite candidate you instead rank the candidates in order of preference.

You put a 1 by the candidate you genuinely like best; 2 by your second preference, and so on. You can even just mark your ballot paper with an X, which will count as a1st preference only. Simple.

The big difference is that the system used to count the votes makes sure that a candidate has to get at least 50% of the votes to be elected.

When the votes are counted if someone gets more than half the votes they win. If no one does then unpopular candidates are gradually excluded. Then the preferences are used work out how people would have voted if that candidate hadn’t stood. If a candidate then has over half the votes then they’re elected.

But if no-one has got a majority we’d keep excluding unpopular candidates until we find someone with more than half of votes - this means that the winner has to have majority support.

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