Seen some utter twaddle on the internet recently about the upcoming UK referendum on the Alternative Vote.  So here’s my guide to what AV is…hopefully without the waffle…;)

The super short version – AV voting is like X-Factor voting, only a lot quicker!

Right, what do I mean by that…the X-Factor is an example of an Exhaustive Ballot.  There are several rounds of voting, and in each round the loser gets eliminated. The advantage of voting this way is that you have a greatly reduced incentive to vote tactically.  You’re almost always better off voting for who you really want at each stage.  I, for one though, wouldn’t want to traipse to the polling station several times, and there’s a quicker way of doing it – AV.

AV differs from EB in that you only have to cast your ballot once.  Instead of marking one candidate with an ‘X’ you rank the candidates in order (‘1′ being the best).  In other words, you say in advance how you will vote in later rounds if your first choice gets knocked out.  That means all the different ’rounds’ of voting can be done instantly, once the votes are counted (which takes longer to do).

Any questions?