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Voting matters - for the technical issues of STV

Issue 17, October 2003

(Complete issue in PDF, 204Kb.)


This is the first issue under the auspices of the McDougall Trust. The Editor has taken the opportunity of this change to make a number of stylistic changes. These are mainly as follows:
This issue also has a slight departure in having two papers which are more mathematical in nature than is usual. It has been decided that the Editor should ensure that the main points of such papers are intelligible to non-mathematical readers by placing an appropriate summary here.
There are four papers in this issue:
In Douglas Woodall's paper he defines a new way of counting preferential votes which is analogous to conventional STV. To understand the counting process, it is probably best to work through the examples in the paper with the general definition in mind. It is clear that undertaking this form of counting without a computer is viable. Hence the interest here would be to see if QPQ has any appeal to those who think it inappropriate to use computers to count an election. The main mathematics in Woodall's paper is to show that QPQ has several desirable properties - hence this part can be skipped and the results taken on trust.
The paper of Joe Otten arose from a resolution put to the ERS AGM requesting that the full election data of the preferences specified should be available for STV elections. (Such disclosure was available for the three Irish constituencies for which electronic voting was employed in the June 2002 elections.) The paper explains a potential danger from full disclosure with a proposed resolution.
Markus Schulze in his paper considers the question of electing just one person, which would be the Alternative Vote (AV) with STV. Many would consider that AV is inappropriate since it does not necessarily elect the Condorcet winner (if there is one). The paper starts from the position of electing the Condorcet winner but with the objective of ensuring as many desirable properties are satisfied as possible. The proof that certain properties are satisfied involves some logical analysis which I hope most readers can follow.
James Gilmour's paper has arisen as a result of the recent consultation process for the introduction of STV in Scottish local elections. Here, he shows by analysis and example that the calculation of the transfer values can be improved by using more precision in the calculation than is often the case.
Readers are reminded that views expressed in Voting matters by contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the McDougall Trust or its trustees.

Papers with citations

  1. D R Woodall: QPQ, a quota-preferential STV-like election rule (p1-7, PDF 92Kb)
  2. J Otten: Fuller Disclosure than Intended (p8, PDF 16Kb) [18, 10, PDF]. [18, 11-12, PDF]. [19, 14-16, PDF].
  3. M Schulze: A New Monotonic and Clone-Independent Single-Winner Election Method (p9-19, PDF 76Kb) [18, 1, PDF]. [19, 6-13, PDF]. [27, 1-21, PDF].
  4. J Gilmour: Calculation of Transfer Values - Proposal for STV-PR Rules for Local Government Elections in Scotland (p20-24, PDF 32Kb) [22, 21-25, PDF]. [23, 3-9, PDF].

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