Date: 2011-02-21 11:00 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Surely point 1 ('The voter can be honest about what they want'), isn't quite right, as either your first vote is just a throwaway protest and so the tactical voting moves to the second, serious, vote -- or the first vote becomes part of a very complex tactical voting game, where you try to influence the order in which candidates are eliminated, as that can have a big influence on the result?

The '50% threshold' thing that seems to be the main argument supporters of AV use is also a bit disingenuous. For a start, it only applies if all voters put enough preferences that no votes get dropped as they run off the end of the preferences -- a circumstance vanishingly unlikely, and also one that seems rather unfair on those who only have one preference. If a lot of people go for one candidate and don't mark second preferences it's entirely possible for a candidate to be elected with less than 50% of the vote.

It's also disingenuous because even in the unlikely event no voters do drop off the ends of their lists, it implies that someone's second preference counts as much as someone else's first preference -- it basically says that if a candidate wins with 45% first preferences and 7% transferred second preferences, they had 52% of the support (ie, over 50%). But should a second preference really count, for these rhetorical purposes, as much as a first preference? That doesn't seem right to me. Presumably support for the candidate among those who marked them '2' was less than among those who marked them '1' (or they'd have marked them '1' as well), but to get the '50%' figure you have to ignore that and count transferred votes with as much weight as first-preference votes.

I've yet to see any argument for AV which doesn't, on closer inspection, turn out to be strictly worse than first-past-the-post, either because it's unfair to those who just vote for one candidate, or because (like the 50% thing) it relies on very dodgy assumptions and disingenuous rhetoric about 'support'.

And that's why I'll be voting no.

S.
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