Tag Archives: transferable voting

Conservatives and Exhaustive Transferable Voting

Tory MPs are going through a laborious process to whittle five candidates for leadership down to two – who the membership will then vote on.

They are doing it by “exhaustive balloting”. Today we have a poll of five, after which the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, before a poll of four on Thursday another elimination and then a poll of three next Tuesday.

This opens up scope for all sorts of machinations and sub-optimal results. Is there a quicker and possibly cleaner way? Continue reading

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Is AMS truly democratic?

Democratic Audit are carrying out an audit of democracy and ask:

What does democracy require for an electoral system?

  • It should accurately translate parties’ votes into seats in the legislature (e.g. Parliament)
  • In a way that is recognized as legitimate by most citizen (ideally almost all of them).
  • No substantial part of the population should regard the result as illegitimate, nor suffer a consistent bias of the system ‘working against them’.
  • If possible, the system should have beneficial effects for the good governance of the country.
  • If possible, the voting system should enhance the social representativeness of the legislature, and encourage high levels of voting across all types of citizens.

How democratic are the reformed electoral systems used in mayoral and devolved elections? Democratic Audit UK, 18 January 2016

It then applies these criteria to its audit of the AMS system used in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and London Assemblies.

I take issue with two of these criteria – which are fundamental to the examination of the Additional Member System (AMS). Continue reading

STV as a tug-of-war

In a previous post having another go at the horse race analogy used by supporters of FPTP (First Past The Post) electoral systems, I tried to compare AV (The Alternative Vote) to a tug-of-war:

Initially the die-hard supporters of the two established foes (usually Labour and the Conservatives) take an end each. As they start pulling they scream out promises and threats to bystanders to try to persuade

  • their stay-at-home supporters to pick up their end of the rope and pull
  • supporters of minority parties to lend their weight (if only to stop the other side winning)
  • the apathetic to look at how things are going and if they don’t like what they see to also lend their weight.

As all of this happens you may find a few people changing ends, but the result is determined by who has the greatest weight of support and can pull themselves over the line at the close of polls.

Electoral Tug-of-War

Electoral Tug-of-War as an AV analogy

I also suggested that STV (the Single Transferable Vote – usually in multi-member constituencies) might be a multi-dimensional version of this tug-of-war with each candidate having a rope. I have since been trying to visualise this! Continue reading

UKIP’s and the Conservative’s Pickle

It is interesting that the Conservatives are branding themselves as the “party that will give the people a choice” (through an in/out referendum) and UKIP are also promising to “give the country back to the people”. Yet both are worried about splitting the vote at the next general election. Hence the calls for pacts or coupon elections from worried conservatives; hence UKIP playing hard-ball. This is disingenuous. Continue reading

What makes an election system democratic?

How offended can you be before an election result is “not democratic”? Continue reading

Supplementary Voting

Some commentators have tried to explain away the high number of “spoilt ballots” in last weeks PCC election as the public being confused by the voting system.  Detailed analysis of the spoilt ballots might confirm this, but I am left wondering why they did not use the simpler Alternative Vote?  Oh, yes they screwed up a referendum on that issue earlier this year. Continue reading

Coalition Confusion

Some politicians – mainly conservatives – are getting in a bit of a twist as to whether at the next general election there will be “coalition candidates”. Continue reading

Laboured understanding of AV

Reading the comments on the 2010 Labour Leadership Election on the BBC Daily Politics message board I worry about the ability of some to understand AV (Alternative Vote).  And the continued press and media comment does not fill me with confidence that all will be clear by the time of the referendum. Continue reading

Other benefits of STV

STV (Single Transferable Voting) is often promoted as a means to get a more representative result.  There are, however, other significant benefits:

  1. Voters can choose between different candidates of the same party; this breaks the power of the selection committees.
  2. “Split votes” are almost impossible, so a disgruntled candidate can appeal over the heads of their party direct to the electorate.  Protest votes also become irrelevant – you can vote for what you want.
  3. Mini “one party states” are unlikely, so parties and candidates do not get complacent, and at every election, there is something to fight for, so with a bit of luck the electorate actually gets engaged. Continue reading

Myth Busting: The winner should win

A frequent objection to systems other than the old First Past The Post system is that “the winner does not always win”.  I think we need to make sure we understand what we mean by “winner” and “win”. Continue reading