As has been pointed out elsewhere the main purpose of this bill is more likely part of a private member's ballot stuffing exercise designed to dilute the number of high profile opposition bills that have been drawn
Second and subsequent preferences are contingency choices only, whereby the voter is saying (to the electoral officer / STV calculator), if my first preference candidate does not need all of my vote, or is excluded from the count, I want my vote to be transferred, in whole or in part, as the case may be, to my second preference candidate, to help elect that person, and so on.
Here I have to disagree – your second and subsequent preferences are more than contingency choices … for example if you and your neighbours give candidate A twice as many votes as they need to be elected then a full 1/2 of your vote is still live and will pass to your second choice, and will keep being passed down your preferences until it is used up …
In fact because the chances of a candidate getting exactly exactly the perfect amount to get elected it’s quite possible that tiny little bits of your single vote will get distributed all the way down your preference list (missing those candidates that get kicked out for being lowest) modulo the precision that the algorithm mandates.
Both Bev Butler and yourself have nothing to worry about. Very briefly, a 43-vote difference between candidates, in an NZ STV (Meek’s method) election, where 32,820 votes were cast, is huge. That is not in any way close, as it might be in an FPP election.
I think it's really smaller than that as it only requires half that many mistakes to turn it around.
In general though I really think that votes should be counted, in public, in the city where they are cast, sending them elsewhere to be counted seems to me to be just plain wrong.
I tried to get DIA officials to recommend that the Regulations be amended so that full preference data could be made publicly available, so people could run the data using their own STV programs, to confirm the results (also necessitating the public availability of the source code), but they weren’t interested.
I agree, they should do this, appropriately anonymised
What I don’t understand are the ramifications of multi-member STV contests. In Wellington, we have two or three seats in each ward, and (some) parties choose to endorse candidates – but they only ever endorse one candidate in any ward.
I think it's more an issue of branding ....
Is that because putting up more candidates would reduce the chances of any one of them winning?
No, provided that the faithful rank their candidates as #1 and #2 (and I don't think it matters which way around, but I need to think about that more carefully, I can't find an example where it makes a difference)
BTW I'm an STV fan, but I should point out a couple of down sides:
- scrutineers are practically impossible, at least here in Dunedin, 'counting' (typing it in to the computer) is done 300km (in Chch) away over a period of 3 weeks - a scrutineer would have to relocate for close to a month to do their job - it's so hard that in practice no one does it
- a recount is either impossibly expensive (requiring all the votes to be typed in again), or farcical (running the STV program again on the same data)
In the example I linked to above the last candidate who lost lost by 43 votes but could not afford a real recount
the quota is still calculated using number of seats + 1, even after the first person is elected.
oops you're right - however my main point is that the number of effective votes still in play decreases as people who haven't ranked all 40 (and who can reasonably do that?) drop out. The resulting quota slowly goes down (by ~2000 votes, ~10% in the graph I linked to).
If anyone now has a majority of the remaining votes, they’re elected.
(still in minor nit territory) true for the last seat, but it's really "if anyone has NUMBER-OF-OUTSTANDING-VOTES/(NUMBER_OF_OUTSTANDING SEATS+1) votes then they're elected" otherwise you discard the lowest polling candidate and redistributing their votes, if they were the last listed candidate on any voter's list NUMBER-OF-OUTSTANDING-VOTES gets smaller
"Distracted Scientist", who sometimes posts here, did a great visualisation of the counting process in a Dunedin election - you can see the slope of the line at the top slowly drooping as the quota drops - also as it drops more (a larger fraction) of the votes for candidates already elected get redistributed to other candidates
Minor nit: the quota changes downwards during the voting, largely because people don't rank all 40 odd (in Dunedin's case) candidates, the quota is calculated from the number of votes still in play (including fractional bits) and the number of unelected seats still in play.
Of course Hospital Board voting is only silly if the government hasn't taken away your right to vote for your local hospital board
minor nit - I think you mean "milk solids"