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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Instant Runoff Proposed by Gordon Brown

Via 538:

In a move that is as blatantly political as it is overdue, Gordon Brown this week announced his support for a referendum on the so-called "Alternative Vote" proposal that has made its way around for the last few years.

Known to the rest of the world as the "Instant Run-Off," the proposed new system is far from the proportional representation system that dominates continental Europe. However, it is would have an important impact on the numbers game in UK politics, particularly in close elections like this one.

We will start with the figures about what would mean in an electoral context, understanding that, of course, it would not be in place for this election given the need for a referendum beforehand.

The main added-value of the AV (we'll use the British acronym for now) is that it allows voters to rank their choices, rather than just voting for one prospective MP. In effect, you can still cast that initial protest vote or two without losing the chance to cast your final lot with the lesser of the two remaining evils if your top choice candidate does not make it. In an American context, it would be like if in 2000 all the Ralph Nader voters in Florida could have had their votes switched to their second choice candidate in the case when no candidate reached a majority initially.

If enacted, this would likely have an important impact on quite a number of House of Commons constituencies.


Will it release the sick hold he has on England? You be the judge.

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