Monday, 7 February 2011

Is there a 50% myth in #Yes2AV / #No2AV ?

Under AV there can be a number of rounds of counting - in each round a candidate is knocked out and their votes reallocated until one of the remaining candidates has over 50% of the votes.

"Over 50% of what?" I hear you cry, "Over 50% of the votes" I repeat - seems a pretty simple statement to me.

But, if someone wanted to kick up a storm somehow to avoid addressing a question like "is there *anything* good about FPTP" they may start asking existential questions about "WHAT IS A VOTE".

I suggest a vote is a clear indication by a voter of which candidate they want to support. You can't vote for someone who isn't running and you can't vote for someone who has been knocked out. So a vote is a clear indication by a voter of which of the current candidates they want to support - again seems pretty simple to me.

If you don't like things simple, and want to try to confuse things you could argue that a vote is a piece of paper or similar I guess, but that would be pretty dumb wouldn't it?

If instead of saying "over 50% of the votes" someone said "over half the vote", "support of over half the voters" I guess you could try to pretend that there was a significant different meaning (if you wanted to avoid quesitons like "is there *anything* good about FPTP").

Even 'over half the constituents' seems reasonable (unless you are talking about cat food on TV, in which case the small print has to explicitly state 'who expressed a preference', maybe cats aren't too smart?). Is this so confusing that the whole of the AV counting system has to be explained on every occasion it is mentioned? I don't think so.

If someone published a statement with the intention of deceiving that would be pretty stupid - as it would soon be shot down, and AV is better than FPTP so there is no need to deceive.

By the way is there anything good about FPTP?


  1. "50% of the voters who support either of the remaining two parties" is probably more accurate.

    I guess it surprises some people that they are not seen as voters if they don't vote for one of the two parties that end up in the last round.

    It isn't helped that it is often trumpeted by pro AV supporters and bloggers as 50 of all voters, or of electorate..
    It is also unhelpful that due to AV and this 50% mark supporters claim that this automatically means more support for the winning candidate, which is also not true because a Fptp winner with 29% of the vote (total vote) can also be said to win 50%+ of the 'AV' votes if you start removing people from the voting pool that prefer neither the top two candidates.

    In short, there are some being dishonest, some not understanding ( I have corrected many myself who have conceded that it wasn't as good as they had been led to believe) and a small minority of the AV squad that know the truth and speak it.

  2. DBirkin

    If the choice comes down to a final two - if you had cared which of them wins you should simply have given one a higher preference - voted, be a voter.

    If you don't care, then abstain, don't vote don't be a voter.

    Its everyones choice.

  3. Indeed. If you don't have a preference for the final two then your presence is the same as turning up under FPTP and spoiling your ballot. Your preference is still recorded at least, more info for politicians to work from. At least under AV this situation of actively not being a participant in the final decision is your decision, and not that of the system forcing your voice, your opinion, to be cut short before you've had your full say.

  4. I am simply saying that not many people are aware that if they don't vote for certain parties, they aren't seen as voters.