#No2AV Lie of the Week: Part 3

Wow. No to AV came so close to stating an actual true fact this week. It only would have taken a few more words. Sadly for them, lies are what result when you run a campaign based on soundbites over substance. So on with the series!

While it would be true to say that AV is only used to elect governments in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Australia; it is not true to claim outright that those are the only places it’s used. In the British House of Commons AV is used to elect the speaker and the chairs of select committees. Every major British political party uses AV (or a system very similar to AV) to elect their leader. Local parties use AV to select candidates for election. In the US, as I mentioned last time, at least one city has chosen to adopt it every year since 2004.

Outside of government, AV is used all over the world by charities, unions and community organisations who want to ensure that every member has a say in their leadership elections. It’s used at the Oscars to decide who will get the award for best picture, because they recognise that it best allows the collective judgment of all voting members to be most accurately represented. My own passion for electoral reform developed when I was forced to learn different electoral systems as returning officer for elections at the University of Bradford Union.

In short, everywhere voters get a say in the system they use, they choose AV or something similar.

3 thoughts on “#No2AV Lie of the Week: Part 3

  1. For single positions maybe, but for individuals in groups? I.e. houses? Committees? Doesn’t really happen.

  2. OK, using the example of my own experience again, I was part of an executive committee. I was elected under AV. AV is widely used to elect members to committees where they have a single portfolio or constituency. As long as the House of Commons remains a group of single representatives representing single constituencies there is no better system to elect its members.

    The only reason other systems are sometimes recommended over AV for multi-member positions is to achieve proportionality. As I explained before, that can’t be done without changing the make up of the House. At the moment I elect one MP for Bradford West. As long as I want to continue doing so, AV is the best system.

  3. How is electing an MP that much different than electing an individual.

    Our current voting system means each constituency votes for one person to represent them in parliament. Our vote holds no power outside of that decision, nor does it affect the appointment of any other MP or other government person. The idea that we vote a party in to power is a myth that’s grown up because of the fact that we used to have large majorities of people voting for one of two parties.

    It is the role of our elected MP to present our voice in parliament, and to decide along with the the MP’s elected to represent every other constituency how they will form a government. We do not vote at all on the formation of our government, it’s leadership or even on the demographic make up of parliament.

    We, ourselves, are voting for one person to hold a single position. Now I would argue that is a flaw which PR would correct, but that isn’t the nature of this particular debate.

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