Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Alternatve Vote: another question

OK, so no one knows the answer to my first question, so here's another.

There are 10 candidates but no one has 50% of the first preference votes. One candidate is eliminated and his votes are redistributed based on the second preference of his supporters (lucky them, two bites of the cherry!)

Still no one has 50% so the second last candidate's votes need to be redistributed.

On the second last pile of votes you now have all the ballot papers which put the second last candidate as first preference plus all the ballots which put the last candidate first, and the second last candidate second. So the second preference of the first set of votes needs to be considered, and the third preference of the second set of votes.

Question: what do you do with ballot papers which put the second last candidate first, but the already eliminated candidate second?


chefdave said...

I had to read that four times before I understood what you meant!

I think they just look down the list to see their 3rd preference, but again don't quote me on that. The yes to AV campaign havn't explained it very well, they've been too busy telling us why it would make MPs "work harder".

Your post has made think of another potential flaw. The whole point is that gives the winner 50%+ of the votes, so far so good. But what happens if people just write down their first choice and nothing else? I.e you start with 5000 total votes, but UKIP, the BNP and Green voters only put a no.1 next to their party, they all get eliminated, is the eventual winner now supposed to get 2500 votes even though there are less left in the pot?

What I'm saying is that it's easier to get 2500 votes when there are 5000 knocking about rather than 4000, or if votes are eliminated do they change the threshold so the winner now only has to get 2000 votes?

This will add a lot of confusion to the counting process.

Nationalist said...

I'm pretty certain it's 50% of the votes in play. The ballots that have run out of preferences don't count anymore.

chefdave said...

So it's fair to say that AV is self defeating then?

AVists keep banging on about the "fact" that AV gives the winner an absolute majority, but this depends upon the willingness of voters to play ball.

As soon as they just express their first preference there's no guarantee of an outright majority, and the only (supposed) strength of AV collapses.