An unfair voting system

I READ with interest a letter in last week’s paper regarding the Alternative Vote system (AV).

AV is championed by Lib Dems to replace our existing system.

It is no coincidence that electoral reform is pursued by the least popular of the main political parties – the reason is that they hope it will increase the number of MPs they get.

Nick Clegg could have asked for anything when negotiating the coalition agreement, including free university tuition, but he asked for a new voting system for the narrow benefit of this party.

Under our current system every adult has one vote and whoever gets the most votes wins.

This is just like in any other fair race.

At the Olympics, the first runner through the tape get the gold medal. This is intuitively fair.

In elections for a class captain at school, the pupil with the most votes wins.

Again this is in accordance with common sense, simplicity and a basic sense of fairness.

Under AV things would be different.

Voters would select candidates in order of preference, identifying a favourite a second favourite, a third etc.

If the most popular first choice candidate does not get 50 per cent of all votes, the second choice of the supporters of the least popular candidate is treated as a full vote.

This might mean that the candidate in second or third place wins the election, because the supporters of the least popular candidate effectively get an extra vote.

Why should supporters of parties like the BNP and the National Front get a deciding extra vote?

So bizarre is this system that only three countries in the world use it – Papua New Guinea, Australia and Fiji.

It is worth noting that the latter is currently suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Island forum for its low democratic standards.

Bruce Hewison,

West Acres,

Alnwick