He claims to “explode another myth” about the Alternative Vote:
It will mean that every vote counts, say its “supporters”; no more tactical voting for candidates you don’t actually support.
In fact, AV will institutionalise tactical voting and make sure that many, many more voters than before will use their votes tactically.
But the truth is that it does both.
You use your first choice for whichever candidate you most like, without fear that you’re wasting the vote on a no-hoper. Because if they are a no-hoper, then you can use your lower choices to pick between the likelier candidates as you prefer. Under first-past-the-post, the first choice is all you get – so there is a conflict between between showing your support for your favourite and trying to get the best plausible option elected.
AV removes the need for tactical voting in first choices by institutionalising it in the lower choices.
What’s more, the type of tactics involved changes. Tom says that “Voting tactically with your second or third preference vote is no different from placing a cross against the name of the person you dislike the least under the current system.” But this isn’t true.
Tactical voting under FPTP requires you to know/estimate/guess which candidates have a genuine chance of winning and which don’t. This is often difficult, particularly with lots of horrendous ‘Only Party X can beat Party Y in Wibblesford North!’ leaflets, complete with dodgy bar charts, flying around.
Under AV, all you have to do is decide which candidates you prefer to which others. You need spend no time poring over opinion polls and past results.
And those bar charts will become obsolete.