The Alternative Vote Referendum

Although the only election in Ashtead on 5 May this year is the one in Village Ward for Mole Valley District Council, residents throughout Ashtead will be going to the polls on that day because there is a nationwide referendum to decide whether our voting system for Parliamentary elections should be changed.  This decision will not affect local elections, and so although Ashtead Independents recognise the importance of the issue, and each of us has our own view on the matter, we are not expressing any group view on it.  We do encourage all residents to consider the question carefully, make up your own minds, and vote on 5 May.  A government leaflet is being circulated explaining how the proposed new system, known as the Alternative Vote (or AV), will work and how it differs from the present system known as “First Past the Post”.

To help you, here are some of the arguments for and against the new system:

FOR AV:

1       Under our present system a candidate can win even though more than half of those voting have chosen somebody else.

2       Fewer votes are wasted, because votes for losing candidates are discarded in favour of the second (and later) preferences of those voting for them.

3       It may produce an overall result closer to the proportion of support for each major party.

4       It may reduce the extent of tactical voting (that is voting for a candidate who is not your first choice in order to defeat another).

AGAINST AV:

1       It is more complicated, and will take longer to produce a result.

2      It compromises the ideal of ONE PERSON ONE VOTE.

3      Elections will be decided on the basis of the lowest preferences of those voting for the least successful candidates.

4       It may lead to more frequent coalitions and less stable governments.

If you would like to advance any other arguments either for or against AV – please let us know and we will post them here!