This morning, I'll be casting my ballot in the UK in favor of the Alternative Vote, a proposal that will allow British voters to rank their preferences from among candidates. It's the system that's already in use to choose the winners in organizations like the Conservative Party, in political regions like the municipality of London, and in various other forums, such as the Hugo Award. I believe that AV will make politicians more responsive to their constituents and allow voters to better express their electoral preferences. I think it will serve as a major check on the power of party mandarins and big donors in government, and result in better lawmaking.
I hope that my friends here in the UK will consider these arguments when they go to the polls today.
Myth 1) AV will cost us £250 million
The only piece of equipment you need to vote with AV is a pencil.
The No camp's sums, like their arguments, simply don't add up. Electronic counting machines aren't an issue in this referendum.
Australia has hand counted its elections for 8 decades. The £130 million of make-believe machines don't exist in Australia and won't exist in the UK.
AV will keep what is best about our current system – the link between an MP serving their local constituency – but strengthens it by making MPs work harder to get elected and giving voters more of a say. Short on arguments the No campaign are trying to claim we can't afford change. After the expenses crisis we can't afford not to.
Myth 2) AV is too confusing
Few people would be confused by this. Voters put a '1' by their first choice, a '2' by their second choice, a '3' by their third choice and so on. The logic's familiar enough to anyone who's ever asked a friend to pop down to the shops for a coke and said, "If they're out of that I'll have a lemonade."
Some people have a very low estimation of the British public.
Myth 3) AV helps the BNP
The BNP have already called on their supporters to back a 'No' vote. Currently because MPs can get elected with support from less than 1 in 3 voters, there is always a risk that extremist parties can get in.
The BNP have learnt this lesson, and have used it to scrape wins in town halls across Britain. With AV, no-one can get elected unless most people back them. Therefore the risk of extremist parties getting in by the back door is eliminated.