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April 6th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #11
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

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Thanks for this thread. When I finally read what the AV voting system is, I think I felt similar. It's simple enough to see how it works, but could be very complicated to understand what it actually entails - such as the true representativeness of the outcome. Presumably it is less representative than PR? I wanted to understand this but I think reading these posts it would be too difficult and the decision will have to be made by a different route. Working out the full implications like this was only to be a starting point anyway.
Just about any system is less proportional than PR, because PR is designed to be proportional. By "proportional", I mean that the makeup of Parliament is similar to the voters,

Whether that's a good thing is not clear. I tend to think it is.
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April 6th, 2011, 05:21 AM   #12
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

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Actually what would be good is if mathematics could confirm or refute the charge made in this post here http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/da...party-liberals. AV looks good, but if it achieves what's good about it in a basically ad hoc and illogical manner then I think that would put me off. First Past the Post at least has a consistent logic, even if it's more suited to voting for candidates at a local level than parties at a national level.
I agree with the author that "one really should not support a constitutional reform simply to advantage one party or disadvantage another". But that seems to be just what he's doing...

The method is not ad-hoc or illogical, nor is it "fundamentally undemocratic" (it's certainly more democratic than FPTP). The argument that it would be best to wait for PR is reasonable... but since the author seems to support it purely on the basis of political calculus I'm pretty much willing to dismiss the article out of hand. I don't think it gives new correct information to any voter, Labour or otherwise.
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April 6th, 2011, 05:46 AM   #13
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

Thanks for the reply. Having read some of the comments on this same article, particularly by @brian, I understand the significance of this better. It is effectively several rounds of voting until someone has a majority, every voter having an equal vote in each round.

It seems good for electing a constituency representative, and if you think it is important for that representative to have the support of more than 50% of the voters, and that getting the ďmost votesĒ is inferior to this, you might vote for it.

And the vote being for a constituency representative is a positive democratic institution which needs to be kept I think. At a national level, for the division of parties in parliament and the choice of the executive, Iíd prefer PR, but this is difficult to combine with the constituency side. Itís very possible of course that the party system is overrated.
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April 6th, 2011, 06:14 AM   #14
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

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And the vote being for a constituency representative is a positive democratic institution which needs to be kept I think. At a national level, for the division of parties in parliament and the choice of the executive, Iíd prefer PR, but this is difficult to combine with the constituency side. Itís very possible of course that the party system is overrated.
It's worth noting that, to a large extent, you can "have your cake and eat it too" with regard to proportionality. Suppose every candidate honestly registers as one of the three main parties* and that each constituency votes for candidates as usual (whether with FPTP, the AV, a Condorcet system, or something else) but also that each voter submits a vote for a party. All the MPs that were elected go to Parliament, but then additional at-large MPs are added until the makeup of Parliament is roughly the same as the the voters' choice. Which MPs are selected from those parties will depend on the system, but the easiest way would be to have them voted on by the population as well. (If desired this could also be renationalised: group several constituencies together and have each Party X voter in that district vote for an "at-large" Party X member who is sent to Parliament on the condition that her party gets extra seats from the proportionality step.)

The number of extra MPs you'd need is based on the disproportionality of the system you choose. If it does a reasonable job then you might only need ~10% at-large members.

This is not to say that you *should* choose a proportional system, but rather that having a proportional system doesn't have to mean giving up constituency representation.

* You'll note this simplification: I assumed that you don't have Liberal Democrats running as Labor (etc.) and that you don't have any parties beside the main three. A more complicated analysis could take these factors into account, of course, but it's much simpler to just ignore them.
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April 6th, 2011, 06:50 AM   #15
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

One idea I saw which sounded nice was to have the party distribution in the Lords determined by PR. But it doesn't sound like a solution. Your solution, while maybe a bit clunky, at least seems to be excellent for it's purpose.
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April 6th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #16
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

What I hate about my system is that it forces people to work within the framework of the party system. If I don't like any of the parties, what am I to do with the party vote? Worse, it gives more power to party officials.

But I see it as preferable to the current system of essentially random results in many cases.
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April 6th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #17
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

That could be a major flaw. People must be able to stand independently. Moreover, just as PR allows small parties to come up according to the support they have, party politics itself should be allowed to dwindle according as it weakens too.
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April 6th, 2011, 09:11 PM   #18
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Re: Analysis of Alternative Vote vs First Past the Post

Yes, that's just how I feel.

I don't know that the problem isn't solved, I've studied mostly single-district single-winner ordinal systems like range voting, STV/AV, and the Condorcet methods. The few proportional methods with which I'm familiar all rely on parties in some way, which I dislike on principle. But it's quite possible that there is a good solution to the problem of party involvement just like there is a good solution to the (false) dichotomy between district representation and proportionality.
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