Vote Count Confusion
with BC-STV is like ordering a steak and a beer but your neighbour
determines the size of the steak and whether you get a pint
or a glass. STV breaks your vote into fractions with the size
of each fraction determined by how others vote.
90 people gathered in Surrey on April 8th to listen to a debate
on whether B.C. should adopt the Single Transferable Vote.
The audience heard that BC-STV would mean replacing our 85
constituencies, which each elect just one MLA, with 20 large
areas that would elect between 2 and 7 MLAs. The audience
had many questions on how the vote count works.
STV everyone gets one vote, but you mark numbers to indicate
preferences and those numbers are used in the vote count.
First all the "1s" are counted. If a candidate receives
the number necessary to be elected (12.5% to 33.3% of the
vote), the excess votes are reallocated to the next preferences
of the people who voted for that candidate, in proportion
to the excess. If a candidate is eliminated, the full value
of a vote is reallocated to the next preferences of the voters
for that candidate.
second preference could get counted as 10% of a vote while
your neighboour's second preference could get counted as a
full vote, as some value in between, or not at all. With BC-STV
you cannot control what fraction of your vote is given to
each of your preferences because how your vote is counted
is determined by how other people vote.
this sounds confusing it is, and no one should vote for BC-STV
without understanding how the count works.
gets even trickier when you try to trace what happens to the
third preference of voters. For many voters, the count never
gets to their third preference, for others, it may result
in as little as 1% of a vote being transferred, for example
when preferences one and two each win by 10%.
more questions are asked about the details of the count, the
more people are likely to want to stay with the current system,
which is easy to understand. Most people think our current
system is fair since it elects the candidate who gets the
most votes, but many don't think it is fair for their neighbour's
second preference to count 10 times, or more, as much as theirs.