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Voting matters - for the technical issues of STV

Issue 23, February 2007

(Complete issue in PDF, 180Kb.)


There are 5 papers in this issue, all of which are comments or reviews of other work:

1.1  Scotland

The final stages of the legal process for the local STV elections in Scotland have been agreed. The counting method is based upon the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method, but is as simple as it could be in computer terms. Hand counting using this logic is possible, but would take longer than current manual counts because of the need to examine all of the elected candidate's papers when a surplus is transferred. It is interesting to contrast this with the Meek method, which is more complex, since the quota is recomputed and transfers are made to elected candidates. In electoral terms, Meek has the advantage that the intervention of a no-hope candidate cannot change the choice of the elected candidates - a failing of all the rules used for current hand-counting STV methods.
The Order approved by the Scottish Parliament at the end of January will require the Returning Officers to publish much fuller details about votes and transfers of votes at each stage of the count than the corresponding legislation for STV elections in Northern Ireland. However, the rules strangely include a requirement to publish the numbers of non-transferable papers at each stage but not the numbers of non-transferable votes. That vote is needed because, with WIGM, the non-transferable papers will have different values when they become non-transferable.
Because the ballot papers will be scanned and counted electronically, there is a new requirement for one copy of the electronic information so obtained to be kept for four years after the count, while the paper records need to be kept for only one year, as usual. However, it is most regrettable that the release of any of the electronic information, even in anonymous form, is specifically prohibited. One ray of hope for a more enlightened approach is that the Scottish Executive has given an undertaking to consult on this. I certainly hope that full preferential data will be made available because that would be in everyone's best interest.

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. David Hill: Comments on Newland's paper. (p1-2, PDF 88Kb)
  2. Editor, et al: Edited comments on Robert Newland's suggestions. (p3-9, PDF 288Kb) [23, 3-9, PDF].
  3. Brian Wichmann: Review - Machinery of Democracy. (p10-12, PDF 116Kb)
  4. Jonathan Lundell: Review - Irish Commission on Electronic Voting. (p13-17, PDF 208Kb)
  5. David Hill: Review - Collective Decisions and Voting. (p18-20, PDF 136Kb)

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