Lots of voters don’t understand AMS
I just had a look at the number of constituency and list votes in each region, and I have to conclude that lots of voters (and in particular Lib Dem supporters) don’t understand how the Additional Member System (AMS) works.
Basically the constituency vote is used to elect a local candidate, but the result is normally subtracted from the list result. This means that there’s really no point in giving your constituency vote to a small party (unless you’re a party activist or are related to the candidate).
If everybody understood the system, you would therefore expect the large parties (in particular the SNP, but in some places also the Conservatives and Labour) to be getting more constituency votes than list votes, and the opposite should hold for the smaller parties.
However, if you look at the figures below, this simply isn’t the case. Pro-independence voters seem to be clued up, because the SNP consistently got more constituency votes than list votes, and the opposite holds for the Greens (but then, they didn’t stand in most seats), but look at the three main Unionist parties: The Lib Dems and Labour consistently got more first votes than second votes, even in regions where they didn’t have any hope of winning a seat directly. The Tories, on the other hand, got more list votes than constituency votes (except for in the South Scotland region), although they probably had a better hope of winning a few seats.
This was very lucky for the SNP and the Greens, but it does surprise me that Labour and the Lib Dems fail to understand a system they put in place themselves.
|Highlands and Islands|
|Mid Scotland and Fife|
|North East Scotland|
4 thoughts on “Lots of voters don’t understand AMS”
Given that the method chosen was supposed to favour the then ruling party (Labour) and not be truly proportionally democratic, a complete reform of the system should be carried out.
1. The voting should be national.
2. Votes cast should be calculated as a percentage of the electorate, not of the turnout.
3. If 52% of the electorate don’t vote, 52% of the seats should remain vacant.
Maybe someone with nous could crunch the numbers of the constituency votes + those extra list votes for the smaller parties and see what kind of a parliament we would have then. Sorry, I am too busy myself.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that every proposal for voting system reform should include at least one headscratcher of an idea, in this case a parliament the size of which is determined by turnout.
Point 3 Above.
What a bonkers idea.
IF there were to be an “empty chair” party on the list, AND people turned out to vote for it, THEN it would be reasonable for the appropriate number of seats to remain empty in the chamber.
Otherwise, if people don’t care enough to vote, they don’t care about who sits in the parliament.
“there’s really no point in giving your constituency vote to a small party”
This is a long-standing feature of FPTP – people still vote for their candidate of choice even when that candidate is likely to lose. It has no effect on the list calculation though.