Alternative Vote Plus as the name suggests works in a similar manner to The Alternative Vote system with a top up of members chosen at a regional level from open Party Lists. The system was the one proposed by the Jenkins Commission, set up by the last Labour Government. Roy Jenkins took his brief seriously. Tony Blair’s purpose for the commission was to kick voting reform into the long grass. He was very successful in doing this.
Basically for elections to the House of Commons the system would involve reducing the number of seats to about 500 with the members elected by the Alternative Vote method , i.e. you rank your candidates in order of preference and as the votes are counted the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and his or her second preference votes are allocated to the candidates indicated. This process carries on until one candidate has over 50% of the votes.
You would also have a second vote on a regional (possibly county) level where you can vote for a party or if you prefer a specified member of that party on the party list. This is the plus part of AV+. About 120-140 additional members would be elected this way.
Like it’s parent, I can’t get ultra enthused about AV+. It is an improvement on first past the post (almost anything bar a suspension of elections would be) and should give a more proportional outcome to an election.
In its favour:
- it keeps the tie of the M.P. to a geographical constituency, albeit a slightly larger one than at the moment, unless of course we want to have more M.P.s.
- it does produce a more proportional representation than straight AV
- people other than me would argue that it should keep minority extremist parties out of parliament.
- it is not fully proportional.
- the ballot paper is more complicated than at present.
- it would still be likely to produce a single party government.
My objection to it is basically that it adds a lot of the complexity to the ballot paper and counting of the Single Transferable Vote or Additional Member System, without giving the proportionality that they do.