Monday, March 24, 2008

Supplementary vote is neither proportional nor radical

Backing a plan to bring in supplementary vote (having a first and second preference in an election) is hardly radical, as Jack Straw and the government seem to think. Supplementary vote suffers from many of the problems moving away from first-past-the-post should intend to avoid - many ballots will not be counted (in FPTP, any votes not for the top two parties are largely irrelevant; in SV, votes not for the three most popular are largely irrelevant). A huge number of votes are effectively wasted.

What would be radical is a move towards a fully proportional electoral system - one which elects candidates based on their popularity compared to other candidates (the Condorcet winner). A winner under a Condorcet election would clearly have a mandate being the most popular amongst voters - and there would be more of an incentive to vote honestly as all votes count.


Anonymous said...

Having lived in Australia for 12 years, where every state and the national government uses the 50%+1 system, I feel it's even worse than FPTP. Australia has an entrenched 2 party system, with both parties fighting for a position to the right of the centre. Minor parties do not get seats. At the last election the Greens averaged 13% of the vote and won zero seats. Australia shows that often the government that is elected wins a large majority of seats, yet only gets 35-40% of the first choice. Under 50%+1 most voters end up voting to keep a party out of government, rather than voting for policies/positions that actually want.

I now live in Scotland where we have real PR for both Holyrood and the councils. If the point of an election is to determine what the people want, the commons needs to be elected using PR.


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