03 May 2011

Referendum on the voting system for the UK Parliament: not alternative but preferential

On Thursday 5 May 2011, there will be a referendum on the voting system used to elect MPs (members of parliament) to the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.

The referendum will ask eligible British voters to vote yes or no to a proposal. For this referendum, there will be a ballot paper with the question:
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?
Put simply, British voters will decide whether to maintain the existing voting system or reform it.

In addition to the official explanation video above, there are a number of other simple video guides about the 'alternative vote' (AV) system.

One with cats (vote meow)

From historian and television presenter Dan Snow

The 'alternative vote' system is very similar to Australia's preferential voting system.

Indeed, the system is already used in the United Kingdom but not currently to elect members to the House of Commons. First past the post is a very simple system to count but is not totally democratic.

If you are a British voter, consider voting Yes.

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