Magazine September 20, 2010, Issue

The Wrong Alternative

(Al Drago/Reuters)
Electoral haruspicy from Down Under

Anglosphere advocates of the alternative-vote system — in which citizens cast votes for both their first- and second-preference candidates, and losing candidates’ votes are redistributed to their voters’ second preferences — must be hoping that no one outside Australia pays attention to the verdict of its August 21 federal election. Namely, the fact that there isn’t one — at least as late as September 1. The conservative Liberal-National Coalition had initially won 44 percent of “primary votes,” as against the Australian Labor party’s 38 percent. When the second-preference votes for defeated candidates (mainly Greens) were redistributed, however, both major parties

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