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Voting matters - for the technical issues of STV

Issue 6, May 1996


A survey has been conducted of the readership of Voting matters which has resulted in a number of changes; these changes are reported below. I have written individually to all those that took the trouble to write to ERS. Please write again if you have further suggestions, and especially if you have material for potential inclusion.

This issue contains five articles. The first is a republication of a further article by Brian Meek. Readers should take note of the preface which points out the very different nature of this article from the other two that Voting matters has republished. The second article contains a description of mine of a two-tier form of STV. I am not advocating this, since it appears to be inferior to standard STV.

The third article is a very detailed analysis of the degree of representativity in Irish STV elections by Philip Kestelman. Please note the use of the term magnitude to mean the number of seats in a multi-seat election.

Douglas Woodall's article is a very detailed analysis of the rules that could be used for single-seat elections. The importance of this work in my view is that of questioning the desirability of the property that later preferences should not harm or help earlier ones. Whatever your own views are, I hope you will note the consequences of the various impossibility theorems which shows that, even with just one seat, conflicting properties abound. This article does define a large number of terms but I hope readers will find the explanation of those terms adequate.

The last article is by David Hill which analyses the results which have previously been reported in Replaying the 1992 General Election. This paper illustrates the difficulties in producing accurate predictions for an STV election when only 9,614 ballot papers are available for all of the UK.

Brian Wichmann

Papers with citations

  1. B L Meek: A transferable voting system including intensity of preference.
  2. B A Wichmann: A form of STV with single-member constituencies.
  3. P Kestelman: Is STV a form of PR? [8, 4], [9, 6-7], [10, 7-10], [11, 3-5].
  4. D R Woodall: Monotonicity and Single-Seat Election Rules. [14, 5-13], [14, 5-10].
  5. I D Hill: Some comments on Replaying the 1992 general election.

Changes to Voting matters, as recommended by the Technical Committee of the ERS are as follows:

  1. You can see that a subtitle now appears. The reason for this is that some readers did not appreciate the technical nature of the publication.
  2. As Editor, I will try to avoid excessively technical jargon. I will attempt to ensure that terms like monotonicity are explained (even though that has been defined in a previous issue).
  3. The main publication of ERS, Representation, is being asked to reproduce the contents list of our issues, so that those interested will be aware of Voting matters.

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