AV debate... we must keep it real

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As an unashamed supporter of the AV system, I have been frustrated by some of the views coming out of the No campaign in recent weeks.

We should be debating the matter on the facts, and not on some of the rather silly comments made by the no campaign.

The claims that £250 million will be spent on voting machines are false. They are not used in Australia, where the system has been operating for decades, and will not be needed in the UK.

Talking of Australia, they have actually had fewer coalition governments and hung parliaments under AV than we have had under first past the post.

So the claim that AV produces more coalitions is not true in practice.

Finally, there has been a lot of nonsense talked about how first past the post is simple because it is like Olympic race and that there can only be one clear winner. In fact, the 100 metres race in the next Olympics will involve a series of heats to decide the final.

The worst performing runners are eliminated with the best entering the final. This is exactly how AV works.

The winner of the final has had to prove themselves over several races before they cross the line in the final.

Nobody says that this makes them less worthy of the gold medal as a result – and nobody finds this confusing, hard to understand or unfair.

Councillor Martin Hamilton, Lib Dem, Headingley

More electors represented

HOW disappointing that the Labour Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves is voting against progressive change to the voting system despite the No campaigners inevitably tripping themselves up with their inaccuracies!

For example, their leaflet alleges that AV would incur a cost of £130 million for electronic counting machines. Now, in the same leaflet, reading through the right hand column of “How the two systems compare”, there’s no mention of any machinery! If you’ve ever seen the previous system being counted, you’ll know how low-tech the whole affair is with piles of votes on tables bearing different candidates’ names. It needn’t change for the new system. As the No leaflet describes, voting papers will be moved from one pile to another as 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferences are taken into account.

So when you get your leaflet, don’t be fooled. Elections aren’t a race where the athletes’ work is done at the finish line; they’re an opportunity to choose a representative. A Yes vote for AV will mean that more electors will be represented and therefore respected, a value Liberal Democrats have worked hard to live up to in Leeds. Make sure you vote, make sure you vote Yes.

Ruth PECHER, Liberal Democrat Candidate, Armley Ward

Tactical voting discouraged

I WAS amused to read in Michael Breheny’s letter in Friday’s YEP that the AV voting system would give disproportionate power to the Liberal Democrats.

Given that the Lib-Dems currently have disproportionate power under our current first past the post system, I hardly think it fair to cite this as a disadvantage of AV!

AV allows voters to express their actual voting preferences instead of being forced, in many cases, to vote tactically. This probably won’t mean that we see more seats being won by smaller parties, but voters for those parties have much more influence than they would under FPTP. Labour MPs who are elected with the help of Green Party second preference votes had better look after their green constituents if they want to get elected next time round. The same goes for Conservative MPs who are elected with the help of UKIP votes.

Remember that you don’t have to rank all the candidates, so your vote will never be counted against anyone that you don’t want to get elected.

Phil Driscoll, Halton

YEP Letters: February 19