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Voting matters - for the technical issues of STV

Issue 13, April 2001

(Complete issue in PDF, 996Kb.)


As the political debate intensifies prior to a General Election, the search for a better technical understanding continues here.

Hugh Warren responds to remarks made about his suggestion for merging X voting with STV.

The issue of undertaking recounts with STV is very unclear. Even with computer counts, ensuring that there are no errors whatsoever in the data input is unrealistic. My own paper provides details of a computer system designed to detect if an STV election is close enough to justify a recount.

Joe Otten provides details of an algorithm for handling STV elections with complex constraints. Even though such constraints override the voters' intentions, it seems that several elections are of this type and hence there is a demand for such an implementation.

David Hill provides an analysis of STV when equality of preference is permitted. It seems that there are problems in this area, so the fact that conventional STV does not provide equality is not necessarily a disadvantage.

Lastly, I provide a paper concerned with the transparency of STV. The conclusion is to call for the partial disclosure of the votes so that anybody can perform an effective check on the counting process. Comments on this and all the other papers are welcome!

CD-ROM Publication

With the support of the McDougall Trust, I am collecting electoral material with the aim of publishing it in CD-ROM format. It is intended, for example, that the publication will include all of Voting matters. (As a separate exercise, back issues of the journal Representation may be made available on CD ROM as well.) The main emphasis will be on the collation of election data, especially that involving STV or preferential voting. If you have or know of material which you think could be suitable, please contact me. A key advantage of the CD ROM media is that well over 5,000 pages can be placed on one disc.

The principal objects of the McDougall Trust (The Arthur McDougall Fund) are to advance knowledge of and research into representative democracy, its forms, functions and development and associated institutions. The Trust is governed by a High Court Scheme issued in 1959 which states its charitable purposes as being 'to advance knowledge of and encourage the study of and research in: political or economic science and functions of government and the services provided to the community by public and voluntary organisations: and methods of election of and the selection of and government of representative organisations whether national, civic, commercial, industrial or social.'

Brian Wichmann

Papers with citations

  1. C H E Warren: Mixing X-Voting and Preference Voting.
  2. B A Wichmann: Recounts with STV.
  3. J Otten: STV with multiple constraints.
  4. I D Hill: Difficulties with equality of preference. [16, 2-5]. [22, 7-10, PDF].
  5. B A Wichmann: Is STV transparent?.

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