Gordon wants voting reform

The BBC says that Gordon Brown will make an announcement tomorrow (Wednesday) about voting reform:

Gordon Brown will announce plans to examine a new Westminster voting system, the BBC understands. Mr Brown will make a statement to MPs on Wednesday about his reform plans in the wake of the expenses scandal.

It appears he’s going for AV not AV+:

Ministers have discussed an alternative vote system to choose MPs to replace the first past the post method, BBC political editor Nick Robinson said.

However, it’s not obvious to me if this story is accurate. Certainly, the reporter who wrote it doesn’t understand what AV is. The BBC explains AV thus:


Voters choose their first and second preference and a candidate can only be elected in the first round if they get 50% of the vote

If no-one achieves this in the first round, all but the top two candidates are eliminated and their second preferences redistributed

The candidate with the most votes is then elected

This is incorrect. The system being described here is called the Supplementary Vote. It’s the system used in the London Mayoral election and it’s essentially a cut-down less functional variation on AV. This is very shoddy reporting; to find out what Alternative Vote is would only have taken five minutes research on Wikipedia.

UPDATE: more BBC coverage here.

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