Event hopes to convince voters to agree to PR

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POLITICAL leaders will meet for a debate on the Alternative Vote tomorrow.

Students and members of the public can take part in Democracy Day, organised by pro-AV campaigners, at Portsmouth University’s Students Union.

The free event takes place from 11am to 4pm.

It will include two ‘votes’, one held under First Past the Post (FPP) rules, the other using AV, to show people how the systems differ.

Later in the day, Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Mary Southcott of the Labour Party ‘Yes’ group, Green Party former parliamentary candidate Tim Dawes, Andy May of the national ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ group and Richard Denton-White of Fairer Votes for Dorset, will debate the merits of AV.

Mr Denton-White said: ‘It’s to help give people an idea of what AV is and how it works. We believe it’s the fairest way to run an election. It could be the biggest electoral revolution since women won the right to vote.’

The campaign hopes to convince voters in the May 5 referendum to decide to replace FPP with AV in national elections.

FPP sees the candidate who wins most votes elected. But under AV, voters rank candidates according to preference.

If no candidate gets 50 per cent of votes in the first round, the least popular candidate drops out, and their second preference votes are shared between the other candidates.

This process continues, until one candidate receives 50 per cent of the vote.