The U.K. is holding a referendum in May on whether to change the Westminster election system from the current First Past the Post system to the Alternative Vote, also known as Instant Run-off Voting.
The referendum has basically been bashed out as the price of the Lib Dem and Conservative coalition government, as a bit of a compromise on behalf of both parties.
The current First Past the Post system, while simple, is a straight ‘winner takes all’ scenario which discards any loser votes, and consequently does not reflect the proportion of votes cast in Parliament - it’s punishing to smaller parities, and quite obvious why the Lib Dems want electoral reform. In the last general election, they received 23% of the vote, but only have 8.8% of the seats in Parliament.
AV is a bit more complicated, and to be honest I’m still kind of wrapping my head around it. Basically, you rank the candidates in order of preference. If no majority of a first choice is reached, the lowest ones are eliminated and the second choice of that ballot acts as a first choice for whomever was picked. Process is repeated until only one candidate remains.
I’m interested in what the American dopers think of this, since an American came up with the idea and it has a history of implementation in smaller elections in the U.S., where many hapless Brits like me are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out what actual changes it would bring.
Due to my ignorance on the subject, I’m undecided on the referendum, but consider myself tentatively against the change, primarily due to the the notion that it will lead to more hung parliaments and backroom deals - not the best recipe for representation and progress (see the Lib Dems tearing parts out of their manifesto to form a government with the Conservatives).
So, Dopers - which way will you vote in May? If you can’t vote, which way would you vote, and which way would you like to see the U.K. as a whole vote?