Saturday, 19 February 2011

Epping Forest: Say Yes to AV

Epping Forest Greens are backing the Say Yes to AV campaign; we believe  the Alternative Vote (AV) is more democratic than the current First Past the Post (FPTP) system. It is a stepping stone on the path to reform of our electoral system. Of course we ultimately want a form of Proportional Representation, which the Green Party leader, Dr Caroline Lucas MP tried to give us by having the AV bill amended as it went through parliament. Although the Con-Dem government voted this down (Tories and Lib-Dems)

How does it work? It means every vote has a single transferable vote in which they can express the parties or candidates  they most want to win in order of preference. So you may say your first preference is Green, 2nd Lib-Dem and third another. The first preference votes get added up and if one candidate gains over 50% then they are elected. If no candidate gains over 50%, then the candidate with the lowest share of  1st preference votes is removed and these votes transferred to the voters second preferences.

We back AV. Why? Because it means we all have a real say in who will represent us. We have a single transferable vote. People can vote more freely and know that their vote will count. In two thirds of seats the winner at the last election got less than 50% of the vote and so AV could affect who wins in such seats.

AV is how most parties elect their leader, from Labour and the Lib-Dems to Greens. It is also how the Mayor of London is elected.

It allows people for the first time in years to vote for whom they want and so ends the classic tactical vote whereby voters back another party to keep so and so out. Yes it may change certain results but that only be healthy for democracy.

Is it expensive? Well not much more than FPTP and that is not a good enough reason not to better the democratic system.

So we urge the voters of Epping Forest to vote for AV over FPTP on 5th May.