Principles of Electoral Reform

By Michael Dummett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
The Alternative Vote

WHAT in Britain is usually called 'the Alternative Vote' is a system for electing to single-member constituencies. In Australia it is called 'preferential voting'; but in this book we may refer to it by the abbreviation AV. It is an adaptation for a single ballot of an elimination system in which successive ballots are held, each requiring the electors to vote for just one candidate. If, in the first ballot, no candidate secures an absolute majority, the candidate obtaining the fewest votes is eliminated, and a second ballot held between the remainder. If still no candidate secures an absolute majority, the candidate obtaining the fewest votes in this ballot is now eliminated, and a third ballot is held; the ballots continue in this way until some candidate does obtain an absolute majority of the votes, when he is declared elected.

Under AV, all takes place in a single ballot, in which the voters rank as many of the candidates as they choose in order of preference. The tellers calculate the votes in stages. At the first stage, they allot votes to the candidates according to the voters' first choices only (those they rank highest). If any candidate has an absolute majority, he is declared elected. If not, the candidate with the lowest total

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Principles of Electoral Reform
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • To Maurice Salles v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Dual Purpose Of Elections 1
  • Chapter 2 - How to Think About Electoral Systems 6
  • Chapter 3 - Pr and The Alternative to It 18
  • Chapter 4 - The Dual-Vote Device 28
  • Chapter 5 - Who Will Win? Who Ought to Win? 36
  • Chapter 6 - Majority Preferences 47
  • Chapter 7 - Rival Criteria 58
  • Chapter 8 - Systems Based on Criteria 75
  • Chapter 9 - The Alternative Vote 89
  • Chapter 10 - The Wasted Vote 109
  • Chapter 11 - Multi-Member Constituencies 121
  • Chapter 12 - How to Do Better Than Stv 138
  • Chapter 13 - Proportional Representation 158
  • Chapter 14 - The Principles of Electoral Reform 174
  • Further Reading 187
  • Index 191
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