Smart(i)er way To Vote


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Uses Smarties to explain the BC Citizens' Assembly's proposed Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting system.

Published in: News & Politics, Education
  • Is this being used in classrooms? It's difficult to put this across but this would help esp to young people.
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  • If there's one seat up for grabs, you need just over 50% of the vote to win. If there are two seats, each seat is won with just over 33-1/3% of the vote. If three seats are available, you need just over 25% of the vote, etc. That's where the 1/4 comes from - 100% of the votes divided by one more than the number of seats = 1/(3+1) in this case. The basic idea is that if 3 candidates each win 9 votes, the last candidate can only have 8, so they lose the last matchup.
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  • This is always what stumps me. Where did the 1/4 come from? Sounds as if it was on a straw as it floated by...
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Smart(i)er way To Vote

  1. 1. STV: A S mart(i)er way T o V ote A tale about voting…
  2. 2. Some voters like really like the Red Party …
  3. 3. while others like the Yellow Party …
  4. 4. and still others like the Green Party* … *any resemblance to real parties is purely coincidental
  5. 5. but most voters have a wide range of views that don’t necessarily match up perfectly with any party.
  6. 6. We don’t usually live next to people who think exactly the way we do …
  7. 7. so wherever we live, our neighbours will have a wide range of opinions.
  8. 8. This makes our neighbourhoods diverse and interesting, but it’s a problem when it’s time to vote.
  9. 9. What we do now is divide up our province into ridings based on where we live. Riding A Riding B Riding C
  10. 10. In an election, each of the parties usually puts up a candidate in each riding.
  11. 11. We each cast our vote for the candidate in our riding that we support the most (or dislike the least).
  12. 12. In each riding, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if they don’t have even 50% of the votes. * * * 42% 45% 42%
  13. 13. The winning candidate is then supposed to ‘represent’ all the voters in that riding…
  14. 14. but a lot of voters (typically half) voted for different can- didates and so don’t believe their MLA shares their views.
  15. 15. Even some who did vote for their MLA aren’t all that happy with them & wish they could choose someone else.
  16. 16. Provincewide, one party usually wins far more seats than they deserve based on their share of the vote, and …
  17. 17. so wins power far out of proportion to their level of popular support, often winning a majority on well under 50%.
  18. 18. So, how would the Single Transferable Vote (STV) fix these problems and satisfy more voters?
  19. 19. First of all, STV recognizes that neighbours don’t always share the same political views, so it tries to make sure that as many voters as possible can choose the specific MLA they want.
  20. 20. The first step is to merge adjacent ridings into larger groupings, usually called districts. Each district will elect more than one candidate (three in this example).
  21. 21. Each party will typically run more than one candidate, and possibly as many as there are seats in the district.
  22. 22. Voters anywhere in the district consider all the candidates, so they have much more choice with STV.
  23. 23. Voters usually identify several candidates they are mostly supportive of & decide which candidate they most prefer.
  24. 24. They list that candidate first on their ballot (by marking their ballot with a ‘1’) …
  25. 25. and then rank any other candidates they support using a ‘2’, ‘3’, and so on. They can rank across parties, if they wish.
  26. 26. To get elected, a candidate needs their fair share of the votes. In this example, there are 35 voters…
  27. 27. so a candidate needs just over 1/4 of the votes (= 9) to be elected. No more than 3 candidates can win 9 votes.
  28. 28. Unlike our current system, voting is done in rounds so that no voter’s ballot is tossed aside if their 1 st choice doesn’t win.
  29. 29. Since no-one has received 9 votes on the first count, we have to eliminate the candidate with the least votes.
  30. 30. The voter who supported the eliminated candidate then gets to transfer their ballot to their second choice.
  31. 31. Still no-one has 9 votes, so the process repeats.
  32. 32. This time, the two voters have different second preferences, so the votes go to different candidates.
  33. 33. Next, a Yellow Party candidate is eliminated…
  34. 34. and their supporters go both to Yellow & Green candidates.
  35. 35. Now a second Green candidate is eliminated...
  36. 36. And the remaining Green candidate picks up enough votes to be elected.
  37. 37. This candidate’s supporters gather round to celebrate!
  38. 38. Now a second Yellow Party candidate is eliminated…
  39. 39. and the remaining Yellow candidate picks up enough votes to be elected also.
  40. 40. More celebrations!
  41. 41. Finally, the Red candidate with the least support is eliminated…
  42. 42. and the remaining Red candidate is elected.
  43. 43. The remaining voters also support this candidate, so (almost) all the voters are happy.
  44. 44. To recap: Our current voting system leaves about half the voters unhappy with the outcome…
  45. 45. and tends to give one party far more seats than they deserve based on their level of popular support, …
  46. 46. while STV lets voters choose the candidates they support most regardless of which party they belong to …
  47. 47. and produces a province-wide outcome that’s much closer to each party’s level of popular support.
  48. 48. STV: A Much S mart(i)er way T o V ote Please vote ‘Yes’ on May 12, 2009 & visit for more info