AV: spoil your ballot

Submitted by Matthew on 20 April, 2011 - 12:35

I think I disagree with the action advocated in Solidarity 3-200 for the Alternative Vote referendum.

While it would not be an appropriate or constructive view to take in an election I think we should advocate a spoiled ballot in the upcoming referendum.

While I agree with the political reasoning, line and headline of the article (“No to AV, no to status quo”) I think a no vote also carries a risk akin to a yes vote being a barrier to more serious reform. If the no vote wins too convincingly those opposed to all reform will be able to say “The people had their say and rejected change when pressed for a fairer voting system”.

Similarly a poor turnout will allow nay-sayers to say “People don’t care for electoral reform”, hence making abstention a poor choice.

Obviously we can make the political argument against First Past the Post and AV — indeed many people have asked for my view. But I feel this is one occasion where it is not enough to argue for a critical vote either way.

I also question why in a situation such as the Labour leadership vote we say a critical yes vote (i.e yes to Abbott but McDonnell would have been better/she’s not left enough) but here we advocate a critical no vote because the positive isn’t far enough. I understand the general reasoning and we cannot bullishly say the same thing every time, ignoring context or specific politics. But this seems inconsistent.

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