Costs of AV from someone who knows what they’re talking about

Anthony Mayer was Chief Executive of the Greater London Authority (GLA) for eight years and was the Greater London Returning Officer who ran the Mayoral and London Assembly elections.  He knows a thing or two about non-FPTP elections.

He has written a letter to The Times explaining why London brought in vote counting machines for the Mayoral elections.

He writes:

A first-past-the-post election nearly always requires one count and one validation. An AV election nearly always requires successive rounds of counting, each needing validation.

If the political classes want results early on the Friday after the 22:00 Thursday closure of polling stations then with AV there is no choice but electronic counting. If the political classes are relaxed about results coming in over the weekend then manual counting is feasible, if more costly on account of more counting staff hours.

There are those who say that the cost of elections shouldn’t be a factor and while I have some sympathy with this view I don’t believe that AV is a step in the right direction, paying more for a worse system defies logic.

3 responses to “Costs of AV from someone who knows what they’re talking about

  1. From The Guardian, 30 September 2009. An article I have previously linked to in the comments section:

    “What are the benefits of e-counting? The GLA says it's faster and cheaper and more modern,” says Jason Kitcat, a member of the ORG advisory group who is also head of technology for the website Netmums. “But it isn't faster. In the 2007 trials, all but one [e-counting trial] took longer or as long as manual counts.”

    It may seem contradictory for a group that seeks to represent people's digital rights to be insisting on the retention of a counting system that has been in use for hundreds of years. Not so, says Kitcat: “We're pro-technology; some of our members are computer scientists from Oxford and Cambridge. But the benefits the GLA claims aren't there. It doesn't seem a rational place to spend time and money on this when they could spend it on better public services.”

    This article, written well before the referendum debate, shows that GLA claims that electronic voting is cheaper and faster are still wrong. Mayer therefore lacks credibility on this issue.

  2. People being contradictory in politics, surely not!

    Just a thought mr cleverly, are you going to get behind av if it is voted in?

  3. Mr Mask,

    Not quite sure what you mean by “get behind AV” though.

    But if that is the election system that the British people decide to use, I will respect that.

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