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What of the arguments against AV?

Some say…

…it will benefit the parties backing it.
It is of course true that some parties will benefit and other lose out (hence many big-party supporters are spending thousands on backing the ‘No’ campaign, and many smaller parties are being vocal about the ‘Yes’ campaign). HOWEVER, we cannot know what the real effect will be because: 1) tactical voting means its hard to know people’s true 1st preference, and 2) we have no idea currently how people would use their 2nd (and lower) preferences.

…people will have more than one vote.
As described at the start, AV is a series of elections in which each voter gets one nomination. Everyone has one, equal, nomination in each election. Some will be fortunate enough to have their most preferred candidate still in the running right to the end. Also, in local elections with more than one seat per ward, under FPTP the voter gets two or more ‘X’s, not just one, as is implied in their argument.

…it’s not fair that someone may end up voting for their 5th preference.
In reality, we never vote for our true first preference, as that person is probably not running for election. We can only vote for who we prefer of the eligible candidate still in the running, and so who else we’d prefer, and how strongly we feel about it, makes no difference to the validity of our votes (regardless of whether we use AV or FPTP).

…but not many countries use it, and they are all backward countries.
There are many more undemocratic nations that use FPTP (for example North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria – and yet we cannot say FPTP is flawed just because of that. Also, if other countries are unhappy with their current system, that may be due to them having compulsory voting, as well as having to number all the candidates (whereas in the UK you can just write ‘1’ if you’d prefer), so these examples aren’t comparable.

…it will cost £250m.
This figure is essentially plucked out of thin air (breakdown here: £91m actually goes toward the referendum. £90m-£130m goes towards fictitious counting machines that won’t be needed. This leaves £26m, which will be spent on educating us how to write the numbers on the form.

…it will lead to more hung Parliaments, but at the same time say…
…it will lead to more landslide victories. These two statements are contradictory and show that we cannot know what the exact effect will be.

…it will mean more extremist parties stand a greater chance of being elected.
Whilst it is true that smaller parties MAY do better, for the extremist parties it will be very hard for them to convince 50% of people to back them, no matter how many candidates they are against. Conversely, under FPTP, if there are enough candidates and the nominations are split fairly evenly, it is possible for extremist parties to get in (indeed, this is how the BNP have won numerous local council seats).
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