I WOULD like to blow away a few myths about AV that the No campaigners seem to be circulating at present.
1 AV will cost £250million. No: This figure includes a huge amount for the purchase of voting machines. These are not necessary for AV. Australia has used AV for about 80 years without anything more than pencil and paper.
2 AV gives some people more than one vote. No: With AV every elector has one vote. The way that AV differs from the current system is that if your first choice candidate is knocked out then your vote is transferred to your second choice, if they are knocked out it is transferred to your third choice and so on until one candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the votes, or there are only two candidates left. Nobody gets more than one vote.
3 AV is too complex for the electorate to understand. No: I think most people can cope with the idea of ranking things in order of preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, etc.)
4 AV is unfair. No: Our current system, where an MP can get elected on only 35 per cent of the vote, is unfair. AV ensures that every vote can count.
5 AV favours the BNP. No: If this were true then why has the BNP decided to campaign for a No vote?
6 AV leads to more hung parliaments and therefore weakens democracy by leaving the politicians to decide who runs the country. No: A study published by the independent Institute for Public Policy Research in January 2011 concluded that the current system is more likely to lead to hung parliaments than AV would deliver.
This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to improve electoral democracy in the UK for the 21st century. I would urge people to grasp the opportunity and vote in favour of the change.