Choosing number one the easy part

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ROB Meggs says that the Alternative Voting (AV) system is not complicated because his granddaughter easily ranked Peppa, Dora, Tom and Jerry in order of preference (Mail, April 27).

But ranking, say, six political candidates in a logical order of preference is not a simple matter.

Choosing number one is the easy part.

But choosing numbers two, three, four, five and six from a list of candidates with widely differing political views is likely to result in a lot of random ranking decisions.

But those haphazard votes will count as much as the more carefully considered choices made by other voters. And the random voting decisions could, in some cases, determine who the eventual winner is.

The AV system is more complicated than the present system because it means counting and re-allocating the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth preference votes until someone has at least 50 per cent of the votes.

A laborious process for the people doing the counting, with the eventual winners benefiting from a lot of casually made voting decisions.

So the eventual final winners could in some cases have been ranked only third or fourth at the end of the first count.

The result of this hotchpotch of a system will often result in a coalition being formed between the top two parties and that, as we now know, is a recipe for indecisive government, horse trading, compromises and power wielded by the minority parties.

The ones most people didn’t want to be the winners.

Rob said that the First Past The Post (FPTP) system has produced five cases in the last 60 years when the winning party only had a small majority.

That will happen more frequently under the unsatisfactory AV system.

The advantage of FPTP is that it gives the seat to the candidate who was wanted by most of the voters in that constituency.

Jim Allan,

Hartlepool.