The Australian’s editorial in favour of optional preferential voting (“An option worth pursuing”, 11/1) makes the lucid point that an electoral system should be chosen “not because of which side of politics it might favour…but because it would enshrine the sound principle of choice”. Yet almost in the same breath it argues against voluntary voting on the basis of imagined political outcomes, speculating that it “would result in parliaments unrepresentative of a large proportion of citizens”.
Similar criticisms are sometimes made against proportional representation (PR, generally regarded as the fairest type of system) on the grounds that it may fail to deliver an outright majority. Such arguments from hypothetical consequences are irrelevant to the purpose of an electoral system, which is to accurately reflect the people’s will, whether or not that happens to be convenient. On that criteria, each of the three modes, optional, voluntary, and proportional, is an improvement on the current system.