WhatfettleExplaining AV

After seeing a leaflet pushed though our letterbox and hearing me despair over the No campaign, my youngest asked me to explain Alternative Voting.

What should we have for supper?

Counting votes is simple if you ask a straight yes/no question, a binary poll:

Should we have Curry?

Should we have Risotto?

Should we have Pasta?

Nobody hates pasta and we're all getting bored, so pasta it is.

That's a bit time consuming, and we didn't even get to vote on Sausages, which are Phoebe's favourite, so why don't we vote for all of the options at once in a preference poll?

First Past The Post

It's a win for curry, but that's not fair, is it? Well that's how the current first past the post voting system works. You have to vote tactically, that is Lucy, Phoebe and Zoë need to co-ordinate or work out how to ensure we don't get Conservatives, I mean Curry. Tricky.

Surely there's a better way? Well there is. We should take our first, second and third choices into account and have an instant runoff, as used by all the major parties when electing their leaders.

Instant Runoff

To count the votes we take rounds, eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes until there is a majority:

  1. Count of first place rankings. No clear winner.
  2. Pasta is nobody's first choice and is eliminated.
  3. Risotto has the fewest first choices, and is eliminated
  4. Sausages are the clear winner.

Sausages happen to be Phoebe's favourite, so she was convinced. We then had a fun discussion on consensus meaning the thing we all hate the least. Being able to lie down in the road is important so Phoebe doesn't get curry, but would complicate things, greatly.

Maybe we should try proportional representation and have a Sausage and Pasta coalition, but that does risk a Curry Risotto, bleugh!

Anyway, I'm obviously voting yes to AV on Thursday the 5th of May and really fancy a curry.