AV: How will you vote on May 5th?

Posted on April 19, 2011

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The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which includes proposals for a referendum on a change to the electoral voting system, has proved widely divisive. On Thursday 5 May the first nationwide referendum in 36 years will give the public the chance to shift from the current First Past the Post (FPTP) system to the Alternative Vote (AV).

With AV, voters rank candidates rather than marking their preference with an X. If a candidate receives the majority of first-preference votes then they are elected, whilst if no one gets 50% of votes the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their backers’ second choices allocated to those remaining. This process continues until one candidate has at least 50% of all votes.

The current First Past the Post system sees that the candidate who gets the most votes in their constituency is elected as the MP. If one party gets an overall majority of MPs they form the government. If no party gets an overall majority it is called a hung parliament and two or more parties are expected to work together, as with the current administration.

The question that will be on the referendum ballot paper is:

‘At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?

The votes for the referendum will be counted from 4pm on Friday 6 May.

Go to this website for information on how to register and vote.

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Posted in: AV referendum