The May 2011 Canadian election under AV

(Note: If you are looking for statistical data re: the 2 May 2011 Canadian federal election, please visit Elections Canada or the Pundits’ Guide to Canadian Federal Elections [which uses Elections Canada data].) I came across a couple of blog posts written by people in the UK looking at what transpired in Monday’s general election and arguing that had said election taken place under the Alternative Vote rather than FPTP, the Conservative party would not have emerged with a majority government. In a previous post, I wrote that my initial impression was that even under AV, the Conservatives would still have emerged with a majority. I hadn’t had a chance to examine riding by riding results, but given how AV […]

The 2011 Canadian Federal election – initial thoughts

(Please see this post for an update – the May 2 election redone using AV.) I will write a more detailed post at some point in the future once final statistics are available. What follows are simply a few quick observations, mostly aimed at UK readers pondering how to vote in the AV referendum. Canada’s Conservative party emerged with a strong majority mandate following yesterday’s vote, winning 167 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons – 54% of the seats. They won this with only 39.6% of the popular vote. The New Democratic Party finished second with 102 seats, 33% of the seats in the House of Commons. They received 30.6% of the vote. The Liberals finished third, […]

How are votes counted under AV?

Quite a few people seem to be looking for a clear explanation of how AV voting will work in the UK if the referendum comes to pass on May 5. I’ve posted this before, but here is a quick video that provides a very simple explanation, delivered in an amusing way: For those who want more detail, read on. Please note, this is quite simplified and is meant only to provide an  overview of how AV works. For a more official explanation, please consult the Electoral Commission website. How to vote Voters will be handed a ballot very similar to the ones currently used in general elections, with the names of all the candidates standing for election in that constituency […]

Is FPTP unconstitutional?

I confess that the following story, which began in 2004, flew completely under my radar – much to my chagrin. I only learned about this yesterday, but now that I am aware of it, I do plan to follow this case very closely. A legal challenge has been launched by a group in the province of Quebec to have the province’s electoral system, FPTP, declared unconstitutional. In 2004, the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Rights deposed a motion in the Quebec Superior Court that sought to have the offending articles in Quebec’s Electoral Act that are responsible for bringing forth what they call  “a discriminatory voting method” to be declared null and void. The group is asking the Courts […]

AV and fringe parties

(You may also be interested in this post for an overview of how First-Past-the-Post distorts elections results and makes it more difficult for smaller parties to win seats.) Despite the release of studies (such as this one by the IPPR) that have concluded that AV will not help fringe parties or extremist parties win seats in the UK House of Commons, the No to AV campaign argues that extremists such as the British National Party would flourish under an Alternative Vote (AV) system. For example, Coalition cabinet member (and Conservative Party Chair) Baroness Warsi said recently that, under AV, BNP votes would be counted several times – thus “back(ing) a system which rewards extremism and gives oxygen to extremist groups”. […]

More AV-related links for readers

1. Australian elections expert Antony Green has an excellent blog post addressing the oft-heard claim by anti-AV types that under AV, some voters’ votes will count more than others. This is false, of course – everyone gets one ballot and one ballot only. The difference is that some voters’ ballot will be transferred to another candidate if their first choice is eliminated in one round of counting. As Green notes: At the end of an AV count, there is no change to the number of ballot papers or to the values of the ballot papers. Each of them remains one vote. All that happens in an AV count is that the counting system converts the contest from a multi-candidate contest into […]