Is this what the Tories fear about AV?

Is this what the Tories fear about AV?

North Tyneside mayoral election 2005 Name 1st Choice Votes 1st choice  % 2nd Choice Votes 2nd choice % Final
Labour John Lawrence Langford Harrison 34053 40.2 6407 61.6 40460
Conservative Linda Arkley 35467 41.8 3991 38.4 39458
Liberal Democrats Dr Joan Harvey 12761 15.1 N/A N/A N/A
National Front Robert Nigel Batten 2470 2.9 N/A N/A N/A

When an apparent winner became a loser

The nearest elections Britain has got to AV have been in the the thirteen English councils where, following referenda, the local authority is run by an elected mayor who has a huge amount of executive power.

Here voters are allowed two choices and in if after the first round of counting no candidate has a majority of the votes cast then the second preferences are taken into account. Unlike AV voters do not have any further choices.

If the May 5th referendum does decide to introduce the new structure for parliamentary elections then I’m sure that we’ll all be looking at the voting dynamics of mayoral elections to see how the lower preferences work out.

Look what happened in North Tyneside in 2005. The Tory candidate, the first past the post winner with nearly 42% of first choices, was defeated when the second preferences, mostly from Lib Dems, were re-allocated.

Four years later the blues picked up this prize and the second preferences split more favourably to them.

But should someone be elected on just 22.9% of the vote?

But just look at this mayoral result from Ed Miliband’s Doncaster two years ago. Under FPTP the English Democrat would have been defeated. As it is the colourful Peter Davies just got enough to get over the line.

Doncaster Mayoral Election 2009 Name 1st Choice Votes 1st choice % 2nd Choice Votes Total
English Democrats Peter Davies 16961 22.6 8383 25344
Independent Michael Thomas Maye 17150 22.9 7840 24990
Labour Sandra Holland 16549 22.1    
Conservative Jonathan Wood 12198 16.3    
BNP Dave Owen 8175 10.9    
Community Group Stuart Exelby 2152 2.9    
Independent Michael James Felse 2051 2.7    
  Total 74966 100 16223 50334

Here the Labour candidate failed to make the final cut and Davis won. If it had been on a FPTP basis then the winner would have got the job with just 22.9% of the vote.

Mike Smithson

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