Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Alternative Voting: What on earth is it?

A public meeting on the Alternative Vote referendum will be held in Lancaster on Wednesday to discuss the future of Britian's voting system.

On 5th May, UK voters will be given the chance to decide whether the current first-past-the-post electoral system should be replaced by an Alternative Vote system.

This will be the first UK-wide referendum for 36 years – the last was held in 1975, on whether the UK should stay in the EEC, the forerunner of the European Union.

But what is AV? How does it work? Is it better or worse than First Past the Post? And why is AV the only alternative on offer in the referendum?

These questions will be addressed at a public meeting to be held at St Thomas’s Church, Marton Street, Lancaster, from 7 - 9.00pm on Wednesday 6th April.

Speakers will include representatives from the main local political parties: Conservative (Eric Ollerenshaw MP), Liberal Democrat (Lancaster Council leader Stuart Langhorn), the Green Party (Councillor Jon Barry) and Labour (Kris Brown, candidate for Park Ward, Sefton).

The meeting will be chaired by Dr Neil Foxlee, a local resident and Lecturer in Rhetoric at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

“The referendum on the Alternative Vote gives us what may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to choose whether to change or keep the UK’s electoral system”, said Dr Foxlee.

“It’s hugely important for our democracy that the issue should be properly debated at the local as well as the national level. That’s why I’ve organized the meeting, which I hope will be well attended.”

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