A blogger known as Gregg is getting seriously confused about AV.  His main beef is the fallacy that AV gives some people more votes than others.  On the surface, his argument might seem plausible, but it is in the end twaddle.  It’s easiest to explain this if you slow the AV process down and run it as an Exhaustive Ballot.

As previously explained, an exhaustive ballot goes like this: Everyone votes, the loser drops out.  Everyone votes again, the loser drops out.  Everyone votes again, the loser drops out.  Repeat until only one remains.  Now sure, there are drawbacks to this system, but denying people the vote is not one of them.  In every round everyone has exactly one vote.  They are free to have their vote count for someone who is still on the ballot.  The only way you won’t still be on the ballot is if you came last in the previous round.  This is one of the strengths of the AV system, it cannot elect someone who would lose in a head-to-head against every other candidate (FPTP can).

Gregg’s assertion that he is being denied democratic rights, because he does not want to vote for any of the candidates that remain is absurd, especially in the context of the choice that we have at the referendum.  Indeed, FPTP suffers from the same problem, if there’s no-one on the ballot who you can bear to vote for, then your vote (or rather your abstention) doesn’t affect the result, but I don’t hear Gregg complaining that FPTP isn’t 1-man-1-vote.

In the first round of X-Factor 2010, Nicolo got the least votes and was eliminated (AV doesn’t have this ‘bottom three’ rubbish! 🙂 ).  Gregg effectively contends that those who really really wanted Nicolo to win and weren’t willing to accept *any* winner other than Nicolo were being denied their democratic rights by not being able to continue to vote for Nicolo.  If he cannot see the absurdity of that statement, then he has much more to worry about then what voting system we end up using. 

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