The AV campaign for electoral reform

4th May 2011 - Your chance to vote for electoral reform

After careful consideration of the issues, I have decided to vote 'Yes' in the referendum on Thursday 4th May in favour of electoral reform. For many years now I have felt the present ' first past the post' system was poor in that it is often possible for someone to get elected without getting 50% of the votes in the constituency or the election.

The problem I have found is that there is no real solution for electoral reform that meets all expectations for greater fairness. The system offered in the referendum allows for the votes cast for the least popular candidate(s) to be transferred if the first count does not produce a winner with more than 50% of the vote. Its chief merit, in my view, is that the direct link between MPs and their constituencies is preserved. Its unfairness resides in the fact that only some people's alternative choices will get used. Voters who preference more popular candidates are much less likely to find their second choices taken into consideration.

On balance, I think that the proposed change is better than the present system and that is why I shall be voting 'yes'. It is certainly an improvement on proportional representation, a system which means that voters preference a list of candidates put forward by a party. This almost guarantees success for those at the head of the lists and makes it virtually impossible for electors to make their veiws known about individual candidiates by voting demonstratively. It also severs completely the idea of a 'local' representatives serving all the people in defined constituencies or districts for local accountability.

I would urge all voters to consider the issues, make a decision and vote. It wil be very regrettable if this key constitutional decsision is taken by only a minority of voters. Whatever the outcome, the authority of the result will then be continually open to challenge and question.