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Voting matters - for the technical issues of STV

Issue 14, December 2001

(Complete issue in PDF, 1.1Mb)


Readers will no doubt be pleased to know that New Zealand has passed legislation to use STV in area Health Board elections and also in some local elections. Some may be surprised that the legislation specifies the use of the Meek algorithm and hence means that a computer count will be undertaken. Although these elections will not be until 2004, work is in progress to ensure that appropriate software is available and fully meets the requirements. I hope that developments can reported via Voting matters.

In a separate move, the Republic of Ireland is considering the use of computers to undertake its counts, although in this case, the rules are those in the Irish constitution which were designed for a manual count.

In the first article in this issue Simon Gazeley reports a means of undertaking a manual count which avoids the need to elect candidates with less that the quota of votes. Comments on the logic of this proposal or its feasibility would be welcome. In the second article, I report on the observed differences in those elected with the current ERS rules compared with the Meek algorithm - somewhat topical in view of the New Zealand decision (although it was motivated by preparing an election data-based for publication on the McDougall Trust CD-ROM).

In the third article, David Chapman makes a proposal for electing one candidate which is described as preferential approval voting. The counting method seems straightforward to undertake manually and yet claims some of the benefits of the more complex algorithms.

In the last article Bob Jones reports on the questionnaire which was circulated with Issue 12. Unfortunately, the number of responses was rather small and hence it is difficult to deduce much from the replies. The Decision Analysis table that Bob produced can be recommended as a means of encouraging people to think more deeply about the issues involved.

McDougall Trust CD-ROM

The CD-ROM, mentioned in the last editorial, should be available early in 2002. Hence if you have material that would be suitable, or know the source of such material, - please let me know. Election data from the UK, Ireland and Malta will be included.

The CD will contain an acknowledgement to the many referees would have aided in this publication and especially to Dr David Hill who has proof-read all 14 issues.

Brian Wichmann

Papers with citations

  1. Simon Gazeley: STV with Symmetric Completion
  2. Brian Wichmann: Do the differences matter?
  3. David Chapman: Preferential Approval Voting
  4. Bob Jones: Decision Analysis - Responses to a Questionnaire

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