More No2AV claims fall flat

Further claims by the anti-reform No2AV campaign about the Alternative Vote have been exposed today, reports Shamik Das.

Further claims by the anti-reform No2AV campaign about the Alternative Vote have been exposed today. Readers will recall our article on February 5th setting straight a number of ‘facts’ put out by the no campaign about Australia’s experience – to which can be added their ‘facts’ about cost, voting machines and voter education in the UK.

Here are those latest No2AV ‘facts’ and the actual facts.

No2AV claim: “The cost of electronic vote counting necessitated by AV will be £130 million.”

Truth: There will be no electronic counting machines used with AV; as Australia’s foremost election authority Antony Green says:

“We’ve used AV for 90 years at all levels of government. And Australia has never used voting machines to conduct its elections.”

Furthermore, counting machines, such as the ones that plagued the Florida Count in the 2000 presidential election, are routinely used in America – for First Past the Post elections.

No2AV claim: “The simple fact is our country can’t afford AV.”

Truth: The cost of the referendum is incurred whether there is a Yes or a No vote, so there is no saving from voting No in the referendum. And, as Sunder Katwala on Next Left says:

“If Britain can’t afford democratic reform, how could Egypt or Zimbabwe? The GDP of the United Kingdom is $2.189 trillion or $35,100 per capita. The GDP of Egypt is $500 billion, or $6200 per capita (136th in the world).

How ex-President Mubarak must now regret that he did not have Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers Alliance advising him to make a ‘we can’t afford free and fair elections’ speech to the protestors in Tahrir Square. Elliott’s argument about the costs of democratic reform would surely work much better in the Egyptian case than Britain.

“It should certainly be seized on by Robert Mugabe next time the Movement for Democratic Change, and our Foreign Secretary William Hague, are pressing the case for fair elections in Zimbabwe… There are arguments for and against this change. In a democracy, whether Britain could afford to count the votes really isn’t one of them.”

No2AV claim: “The cost of voter education with AV will be £26 million.”

Truth: This is a wild exaggeration, and based on the cost of the adoption of a different system, the Single Transferable Vote for Scottish Council elections, that is much more complex than AV.

Australia’s election expert Antony Green adds of the No2AV campaign:

“They need to get their facts right about Australia and AV. The point is you get better representation. That’s what AV is all about.

Green has also written a blog post today titled:

“Does the Alternative Vote Bring Tyranny to Australia?”

In spite of what the antis may tell you, that one can go in the pile marked:

“Questions to Which the Answer is No.”

44 Responses to “More No2AV claims fall flat”

  1. Richard Mitchell

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat: http://bit.ly/h7RbI4 reports @ShamikDas #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  2. YES! To Fairer Votes

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  3. d poole

    RT @YesInMay: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  4. ShinMonster

    RT @YesInMay: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  5. Éoin Clarke

    FPTP produces to many safe seats, too many MPs born in the 1930s, too many white middle aged middle class men. It wastes too many votes, and allows parties ot govern without consensus. It also produces majorities that are too big, thus allowing not parliament to be sovereign but instead Prime Ministers to be presidential. A better system is one that encourages diversity, wastes fewer votes, produces less majorities thus returning power to the parliament and by logic the people. There is a debate over which system delivers that best but I certainly believe that FPTP is the worse possible system.

  6. Andy Bontoft

    RT @YesInMay: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  7. Tom Wood

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat: http://bit.ly/h7RbI4 reports @ShamikDas #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  8. Ben Cadwallader

    RT @YesInMay: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  9. Jessica Asato

    Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes #yesinmay

  10. Labour Yes

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  11. amy dodd

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  12. Will Straw

    Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesinmay #Yes2AV

  13. amy dodd

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  14. Andrew Hickey

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  15. Michael Calderbank

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  16. Michael Calderbank

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  17. Edward Leathem

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  18. Alex Brooks

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  19. Chris Paul

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  20. David Henry

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  21. Red

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  22. av monkey

    RT @YesInMay: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #doh2av #yes2av

  23. Kit Gonzo

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  24. Vote No To AV

    A rebuttal from @leftfootfwd and next left which equates members of #NO2AV with President Mubarak http://bit.ly/hcxQWt

  25. Ben Rathe

    RT @wdjstraw: Great rebuttal by @ShamikDas of the No2AV campaign's wild & inaccurate claims about cost of AV: http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #yesi …

  26. Ben Rathe

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Why No2AV claims about cost of AV are both wrong and undemocratic. From @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/hcxQWt #labouryes …

  27. salardeen

    RT @VoteNoToAV: A rebuttal from @leftfootfwd and next left which equates members of #NO2AV with President Mubarak http://bit.ly/hcxQWt

  28. Jessica Asato

    @DPJHodges @epictrader Dan, you know that's not true. Can I refer you to: http://bit.ly/fosOoq & http://bit.ly/hcxQWt

  29. nick beall

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH <- interesting! although still waiting to be persuaded.

  30. John Slinger

    How is AV more democratic or fairer if it means that the 2nd, 3rd etc preferences of those whose first preference vote LOST in the first round are then thrown into the pile? This means that in a seat where the BNP are standing and come last in the first round where the votes cast split fairly evenly, there will be much weight afforded to their supporters’ preferences. To take a non-BNP example, candidates are going to be required to tailor their messages such that they attract such 2nd, 3rd etc preferences. So people will be voted (allegedly) with the support of more than 50% of voters, but this statement must be qualified by saying ‘elected by 50% of a variety of votes case – some 1st preference, some 2nd, some 3rd and so-on. Still not an out and out winner in the first round – i.e. didn’t win 50% or more of first preferences and needed the 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc preferences of the candidates which lost the initial rounds in order to ‘win’ the election.
    I favour full PR, along the lines of the German federal system. They have a mixed member proportional system with the first vote being a straight FPTP vote for a constituency representative, and the second vote being pure proportional representation. The second votes elect members which reflect the proportion of 2nd votes cast. That seems a good compromise – ie it keeps the constituency link but also adds in true proportionality. People who complain about the dangers of party hacks getting seats on a list system such as this need just look at the composition of the present House of Commons and indeed front bench of most major parties – these people would be there whatever the system!

  31. John Smith

    I think you’ve missed the point. The claim that we cannot afford a referundum is not about the affordability of which way you chose to vote, it’s the affordability of having the referendum in the first place.

    I agree that exageration at least has been employed here – really, we can afford almost anything we want (if we disregard any other committments, requirments etc) but that is also missing the point.

    When public services are being slashed, public sector employees losing their jobs etc it does seem outrageous that we are spending that amount of money on a referendum that if it produces any change at all will be very minor – AV will not radically alter the results of elections or I believe how they are veiwed by the public. Voting reform is required, confidence needs to be built – but this is a rushed, gimmicky way of achieving that. We need to propely think, discuss and fomulate change to our politics – doing so in an obscene rush on the back of an election where the governing parties have a limited mandate is asking for trouble and more reform later to fix the mess.

    No2AV are certainly right on at least one point – we shouldn’t be having this referendum in the first place. If those seeking reform would get behind that and call on the government to start again and do it properly you might be onto a winner.

  32. Labour Yes

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #labouryes #yes2av #yesinmay

  33. av monkey

    RT @labouryes: RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH #labouryes #yes2av #yesinmay

  34. Doug Burgess

    RT @leftfootfwd: More No2AV claims fall flat http://bit.ly/hPHLWH

  35. Richard

    The article is testimony to the distortions and dishonesty that come from letting anyone associated with the TPA loose on figures.

  36. Will Slater

    I really do not think AV is a fair system. Any amount of money being spent on a referendum could have either been saved or put into the NHS, Schools or Sure Start. FPTP is not perfect, but it seems to be to be far fairer than AV

  37. David Boothroyd

    Westminster Council hired counting machines for the council elections in 2002 and 2006, at a cost of several hundred thousand pounds. The electoral system being used was, of course, first past the post.

  38. Momentum with change as AV referendum gets the green light | Left Foot Forward

    […] banner in Trafalgar Square; the No campaign, meanwhile, were still trotting out their discredited claims about the cost of AV and engaging in yet more scaremongering and […]

  39. Look Left – ’AV it! Referendum campaign gets into full swing | Left Foot Forward

    […] claims about voting machines and Australia’s experience of AV, see my earlier articles here and here – but don’t just take my word for it, even opponents of AV are exasperated at […]

  40. The nasty campaign: NO-to-AV stoops to new low | Left Foot Forward

    […] coming days, goes on to remake the discredited claim that £250 million would be spent on AV. As Left Foot Forward and Next Left showed last week the £250m includes £130m for electronic vote counting machines […]

  41. What the No2AV director really thinks of Forgemasters | Left Foot Forward

    […] in May. Not only is this yet another false claim from the no camp – to go alongside their fictitious £250 million price tag for AV and ‘facts’ about Australia’s AV experience – but completely at odds […]

  42. Look Left – Tripoli tyrant hangs on - but for how long? | Left Foot Forward

    […] coming days, goes on to remake the discredited claim that £250 million would be spent on AV. As Left Foot Forward and Next Left showed last week the £250m includes £130m for electronic vote counting machines […]

  43. Miliband makes case for AV at launch of Labour YES campaign | Left Foot Forward

    […] rebutting some of the myths the No2AV camp have perpetuated, he concluded: “Our long journey to a better […]

  44. The Unfounded Criticisms of AV & The ‘Miserable Compromise’ Argument « The Logical Conclusion

    […] voters will cost £26 million – The 'No' campaign hasn't even sourced this figure, though some have speculated that it comes from an extrapolation of the costs to explain STV (a far more com…. It's likely […]

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