Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Britons should vote NO on AV
I believe that it's been mathematically demonstrated that no voting system is perfect. Here you seem to be using that fact to advocate for retaining a particular (flawed) system, which seems illogical to me.
I mean, in your scenario A under first-past-the-post, the Lib Dem is elected despite losing 15-8 in a runoff against either of the other two candidates. How is that not a deal-breaker to you? How is that not an unfair outcome?
I put it to you that in deciding which voting system you prefer, you must allow that none of them produce perfect outcomes. You must decide what kind of unfairness you prefer.
My rationale for preferring AV (or, really, almost anything other than first-past-the-post) is that FPTP kills 3rd party viability in almost every case, promoting entrenched interests (and I suspect political apathy, as voters repeatedly hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils).
Whereas AV- there's a possibilty for weird results, but it's not clear to me that those have a real-world negative effect. Can the system be gamed ahead of time somehow by an advocate of a particular candidate? Does it have other detrimental side effects on the political process?
"The current British system is one-man/one-vote. AV, on the other hand, gives certain voters more votes than others.
Take a gander at any of the examples above. You'll note that the voters who have their first choice eliminated in the first round have their second-choice votes counted in a second round. In other words, they have 2 votes counted. The voters whose top choices make it into the final 2 only have 1 vote counted."
Politely, bullcrap. Each voter gets one vote per round. When their candidate is eliminated this will be for an alterate choice. When their candidate is not eliminated it is for that candidate again. No one is ever prevented from voting in every round.
Saying that this violates one man/one vote is a rhetorical trick suggesting that this disenfranchises some or privileges others.
If the system was as "elegantly simple" as you state then it would not be possible that 36% of votes for the Conservative party resulted in them winning 47% of parliamentary seats and 23% of the votes for the Liberal Democrats resulting in only 9% of seats. Your argument does not take into account the 'seats' system and is therefore flawed from the onset.
The examples you state show major balance shifts that are only really viable on the small scale where one voter represents a large percentage; however, larger numbers of voters should iron out such statistical discrepancies in the system.
Moreover, the fact remains that voters do NOT have to vote for any candidate that they do not wish to be in power. In that instance, an undesired candidate would not receive a single vote from someone who definitively did not wish them to be in power under any circumstance.
AV may not be the best system out there but it sure if fairer than the first-past-the-post system used currently. You should remember that the government should be representative of the MAJORITY of the public and not just MOST of the public. As such, this is not a simple race to have one winner but rather a set of heats to find the best candidates and then choose the candidate that represents the majority view.
Instead of eliminating the candidate who received the fewest first-place votes, eliminate the candidate who received the most last-place votes. In each example cited in the article, this better method of allocating the votes would result in the election of the candidate most likely to be the consensus choice of the district's voters.
I think you did a great thing moving Dartmouth student elections from IRV to Approval, as I think Approval is a much better voting system. But this argument is not consistent with your support for Approval Voting.
I think my words written were quite consistent re: Approval and one-man/one-vote. With my definition of one man / one vote, i'm invoking a common phrase to define a new problem. I have no issue with the idea of more than one vote per person (hence the cumulative vote reference). I even have no problem with the idea that certain voters will choose 5 candidates, while others might only vote for 1. My issue with IRV (or AV) is that voters have no say with how many of their ranks are used. I think the post lays out the problem with IRV well with concern to this problem.
Feel free to email me with other concerns.
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