The AV system has worked extremely well for many years and many elections throughout Australia, where it is known as Preferential Voting – a term that describes, better than AV, its method and intention.
It ensures that people voting for minority parties do not have their ballots wasted. It also provides for tactical voting – for individual seats in Australia, parties hand out leaflets advising the voter how to number his paper to vote tactically in line with his party’s preference.
For each seat, it results in the election of the candidate that the voters, as an overall group, dislike least – surely an attitude that meets current mood of voters in the UK – and it is a good method for getting rid of a sitting member if that were the wish of a majority of voters in this electorate.
In Australia, where voting is compulsory, everyone who votes must use Preferential Voting (or the Alternative Vote, if you will), and you don’t find Australians saying it is too hard to understand or to use. If Australians can number their papers to indicate their preference among the candidates named on the ballot papers, surely this will not be beyond people here in the UK.