The voting referendum on May 5, the same day as the local elections, will allow voters to say “yes” or “no” to the idea of replacing the traditional “first past the post” system of voting with an “alternative vote” system. And now the whole confusing thing has been cleverly explained in a Youtube video using animals.


Alternative Vote (AV) explained

AV, or ‘Alternative Vote’, allows voters to place candidates in order of preference.

Instead of marking one candidate with an ‘X’, voters place candidates in numerical order of preference with ‘1’ being first choice, followed by ‘2’ for second and so on.

The number 1 votes for each candidate are totted up first. If a candidate receives more than half the votes cast, they will be elected.

If no candidate wins more than half the first preferences, there is a second round of counting. The candidate who came last is eliminated and their votes are re-distributed to the candidates who had a “2” put next to them on those ballot papers.

If there is still no candidate with more than half the votes, there is another round of counting – with the least favourite candidate’s votes redistributed – and so on until there is a winner.

Still don’t understand?

Here’s AV explained with animals.


“Yes” vs “No” – The AV referendum debate

According to those campaigning against voting reform, the alternative
vote will lead to a lower turnout at the voting booth and more people
spoiling their ballot papers.

The group claims that more papers
were accidentally ruined and the turnout was lower when AV was used due
to the relative complexity of the system in comparison to ‘first past
the post’.

No to AV pointed out that, at 1% in the last
election, Britain currently has the lowest level of spoilt ballot
papers in the world.

In Australia, where AV is used, 5.6% of ballots were spoilt at the last election.

to AV also said that Australia saw a significant decline in turnout
after AV was introduced – from 78.3% in 1917 down to 59.4% in 1922.

the “yes” campaigners, who support AV, argue that today’s system means
that your vote counts much more if you happen to live in one of the
relatively few seats that are likely to change hands at a general

According to Yes to AV, people who want to support
smaller parties often feel they have to vote for another party which
has a better chance of winning in their area.