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How the Alternative Vote System Works
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How the Alternative Vote System Works

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The simplest possible explanation of the AV system using just 3 candidates and 15 voters.

The simplest possible explanation of the AV system using just 3 candidates and 15 voters.

Published in News & Politics
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  • 1. Smallville is a tiny little village of just 15 people. The 3 candidates in the mayoral election have agreed to use the Alternative Vote system. The Candidates
  • 2. Usually, Smallville voters mark a single candidate with an X. But in the Alternative Vote system, voters rank candidates. (“1” for their favourite down to “3” for their least favourite). << 1 st preference << 2 nd preference << 3 rd preference The Ballot Paper
  • 3. 4 votes 6 votes 5 votes (27%) (40%) (33%) When voting finishes, all the 1 st preferences are added together. Although Mary leads with 6 votes, she needs more than 50% to win in the Alternative Vote system. So we go to Round Two. Round One
  • 4. X 6 votes 5 votes (40%) (33%) In Round Two, the candidate in last place (John) is eliminated. His votes will now be shared out between Mary & Sean using 2 nd preferences . 4 votes?? Round Two
  • 5. 4 people voted for John. Of these, 1 person chose Mary as the second candidate and 3 chose Sean. These 2 nd preferences are added to the totals. 2 nd preference 2 nd preference 2 nd preferences
  • 6. 7 votes 8 votes (47%) (53%) 6 + 1 = When the 2 nd preferences are added on top, Sean has 8 votes. This is more than 50%. So Sean is elected Mayor of Smallville. 5 + 3 = The Final Result
  • 7. Of course, in the real world there are usually more candidates, which often leads to more rounds. But these principles will always hold true.