Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Watching the Returns Come In

One advantage to being eight hours behind the UK is being able to watch the UK election returns coming in without staying up all night. (Although, given how slowly some numbers are arriving, I may be speaking too soon.) C-SPAN is carrying the BBC election coverage, and I must say that I like the British coverage a lot more than the American coverage of our own elections. People seem to feel more free to speak their minds, and don't coach every single word as if it were finely polished by focus groups in advance. And I like the fact that the BBC are willing to admit that all that they think they can say with confidence from their exit-polling data is that it will be a hung parliament (no party will have a majority), but that they can't say with any certainty what the actual counts will be. Very refreshing for their honesty.

But the way this election is turning out shows what a bad idea first-past-the-post voting is when there are more than two significant parties. The BBC don't help by using the word "majority" to describe the spread between the first and second-place candidates, even when it's clear that the winner had as much as two-thirds of the voters selecting a different candidate. I think instant runoff voting would have made a big difference here, although I admit it probably means some of the fringe right-wing, isolationist, racist parties would have picked up a fair bit more first-place votes as well. But that's not such a bad thing, either, as when one of the lower-placed parties' candidates dropped, you'd be able to see exactly where the other parties' support is coming from, and that seems valuable to me.

However, I doubt that IRV will be implemented, since everyone seems to be saying that some sort of proportional representation is more likely, assuming any sort of represenation reform happens at all.
Tags: politics
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