AV is costly
The change to AV will cost up to an additional £250 million. Local councils would have to waste money on costly electronic vote counting machines and expensive voter education campaigns. With ordinary families facing tough times can we really afford to spend a quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers' money bringing in a new voting system? Schools and hospitals, or the Alternative Vote – that's the choice in this referendum.
I love this argument put forward because it contains both a lie and a logical fallacy.
Firstly if you conduct an election the way Australia does there are no "electronic vote counting machines" because all of the votes are counted by hand. As for how efficient this is: in my lifetime there have been numerous elections at Federal, State and Local levels and when polls close at 6pm the results are almost always declared by about 10pm-11pm.
Secondly, how hard is it to educate people to number every box? Does the No2AV Campaign think that the electorate are a bunch or total morons?
This Argument having started on the premise of two obvious lies, then uses the logical fallacy of the "Appeal to Emotion". In this case the emotion is unfounded fear based on the premise that the system will some how cost and additional £250 million. Has this been properly costed? I would suspect not and that this argument like the two lies upon which it is based is also a lie.
AV is complex and unfair
The winner should be the candidate that comes first, but under AV the candidate who comes second or third can actually be elected. That’s why it is used by just three countries in the world – Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Voters should decide who the best candidate is, not the voting system. We can't afford to let the politicians off the hook by introducing a loser's charter.
Let's break this down step by step shall we?
"The winner should be the candidate that comes first, but under AV the candidate who comes second or third can actually be elected."Consider an actual election from the Federal Division of Swan in the Australian House of Reps from 1918.
Edwin Corboy - ALP - 6,540 - 34.4%
William Hedges - Nat - 5,635 - 29.6%
Basil Murray - CP - 5,975 - 31.4%
William Watson - 884 - 4.6%
Edwin Corboy was voted into the seat under the first Past The Post System, when 65.6% of the population DID NOT vote for him. Surely that seems highly undemocratic indeed. If an Alternative Vote had been used, then it would seem likely that people would have voted for Hedges and Murray as their second preference because both the Nationalist Party and the Country Party were broadly centre-right whereas the Labor Party was a centre-left party.
"That’s why it is used by just three countries in the world – Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea."
This is a non-sequitur statement, that is IT DOES NOT FOLLOW. Secondly Fiji is currently ruled by a Military Junta so their voting system is probably irrelevant and Papua New Guinea is a strange place in which political parties are very fluid at the best of times and there have been numerous reports of violence at polling stations anyway.
Australia on the other hand which does use the Alternative Vote ranks at number 6 on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Index for 2010. We are only behind Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand in terms of having an openly democratic process.
"Voters should decide who the best candidate is, not the voting system."Arguably for the reason stated above with the Swan by-election, that the First Past The Post Method does not decide who the best candidate is. Under the Alternative Voting System, votes are counted until someone has gained 50%+1 votes of the electorate. Rule by majority must surely be the best definition of democracy, no?
"We can't afford to let the politicians off the hook by introducing a loser's charter."I don't even know what this means. I understand what each of the words mean seperately but together, this doesn't convey a meaningful idea to me. Whoever wrote this may as well have written "Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for hire and a combat site." from REM's "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine...)", because it still would have had the same impact and made the same quantity of illogical nonsense.
AV is a politician's fix
AV leads to more hung parliaments, backroom deals and broken promises like the Lib Dem tuition fees U-turn. Instead of the voters choosing the government, politicians would hold power. Under AV, the only vote that really counts is Nick Clegg's. We can't afford to let the politicians decide who runs our country.
I did a quick look at the history of Australian Parliaments and found that since the introduction of the Alternative Voting System it has resulted in just 2 hung parliaments at Federal out of a possible 39 elections. 2/39 is not particularly a very big margin. Also bear in mind that a hung parliament also adequately expresses the will of the people. In the words of Paddy Ashdown the former Liberal Democrat Leader: "The people have spoken but we don't know what they've said.”
If you look specifically at the last British election, the mood of the voters was a definate wish to depose the Labour Party but it was not a ringing endorsement of the Conservatives either.
This also seems to deny the actual workings of a Westminster Parliament in the first place. Voters never vote for "the government", in practice they vote for their local member. It is the sitting members of parliament which then form the government. Historically the idea of even having a political party didn't even exist in Britain until about the time of PM Robert Banks Jenkinson in 1826 when John Cam Hobhouse coined the term "His Majesty's Loyal Opposition". In practise the party system didn't take proper effect until about the time of Sir Robert Peel in 1835.
Besides which it also ignores the fact that in a Westminster Parliament even when government is formed, it is the members of the sitting party who decides which among them will be the leader; even then the leader can change mid-term anyway.
Basically I think that whole No 2 AV Campaign is rather a bit dim. I don't really understand how a First Past The Post system reflects the will of the majority of people and even when the campaign's official website can't explain the First Past the Post system is better, then they're not helping either.
Then again, I don't need to. I live in Australia which already uses an Alternative Vote system. We're already the sixth most democratic system in the world and I think that's brilliant.
This is a nice video as well: