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Single Transferrable Voting Question

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  • 25-05-2019 12:38am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 7


    I've been reading up on how our elections work, and would appreciate it if someone could clarify something for me:

    Say there were 3 seats available and 100 people voted, so the quota is 26. 50 people had John as their number one. 26 of these had Mary number 2, while the remaining 24 had Robert number 2.

    It just so happens that the first 26 votes counted for John were the ones with Mary as number 2. Am I correct in saying that only the surplus votes are redistributed, i.e. Robert gets all 24 votes?

    This couldn't be right so all explanations are appreciated!


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭robman60


    upwexford wrote: »
    I've been reading up on how our elections work, and would appreciate it if someone could clarify something for me:

    Say there were 3 seats available and 100 people voted, so the quota is 26. 50 people had John as their number one. 26 of these had Mary number 2, while the remaining 24 had Robert number 2.

    It just so happens that the first 26 votes counted for John were the ones with Mary as number 2. Am I correct in saying that only the surplus votes are redistributed, i.e. Robert gets all 24 votes?

    This couldn't be right so all explanations are appreciated!

    You're correct that it is not like that. When first preferences are totted up, they are piled up according to who the second preference is. The 24 vote surplus will then be distributed proportionally between Mary and Robert. Each gets votes of the 24 in proportion to how they are chosen as second preference.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,786 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    The proportional transfer only happens on the first count. After that it's the top votes in the stack. NI (and Seanad elections) use proportional through all counts


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,387 ✭✭✭✭Sardonicat


    When a candidate reaches the quota, the surplus is distributed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 upwexford


    robman60 wrote: »
    You're correct that it is not like that. When first preferences are totted up, they are piled up according to who the second preference is. The 24 vote surplus will then be distributed proportionally between Mary and Robert. Each gets votes of the 24 in proportion to how they are chosen as second preference.

    That makes much more sense alright, I'll be able to sleep soundly tonight, cheers!


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,890 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    L1011 wrote: »
    The proportional transfer only happens on the first count. After that it's the top votes in the stack. NI (and Seanad elections) use proportional through all counts


    Correct, and this may have implications for how our Euro elections turn out. For example, if Leinster transfers from Doyle were to push Wallace over the quota, and these were then distributed between Clune and Byrne, they might go more to Byrne than next preferences from Wallace might generally have gone.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,387 ✭✭✭✭Sardonicat


    L1011 wrote: »
    The proportional transfer only happens on the first count. After that it's the top votes in the stack. NI (and Seanad elections) use proportional through all counts
    Oh thanks for clarifying how the papers for transfer were picked. I often wondered where in the pile they came from. So if a candidate is over the quota by 20, the first 20 are lifted off the stack? What if there us more than one stack and the surplus is large?


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,594 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump


    robman60 wrote: »
    You're correct that it is not like that. When first preferences are totted up, they are piled up according to who the second preference is. The 24 vote surplus will then be distributed proportionally between Mary and Robert. Each gets votes of the 24 in proportion to how they are chosen as second preference.




    Interesting. In primary school back in the day the teacher told us that the votes to be transferred were pulled randomly.

    Doing it properly proportionally seems fairer though. And reproduce-able


    What do they do in the case where the numbers don't add up?
    Suppose (A) has 100 votes surplus. And their second preferences across all their #1 votes were distributed exactly equally to each of (B), (C) and (D) so that each gets 1/3 of the 100. Does 1 vote disappear given that each will get 33 transfers?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭robman60


    Interesting. In primary school back in the day the teacher told us that the votes to be transferred were pulled randomly.

    Doing it properly proportionally seems fairer though. And reproduce-able


    What do they do in the case where the numbers don't add up?
    Suppose (A) has 100 votes surplus. And their second preferences across all their #1 votes were distributed exactly equally to each of (B), (C) and (D) so that each gets 1/3 of the 100. Does 1 vote disappear given that each will get 33 transfers?

    Bear in mind we are dealing with figures in the thousands or at least hundreds normally, so even something like 33.33% will match to a specific number.

    Not sure how it goes, presumably round up if over .5 and down otherwise. I would guess in your example one would be discounted as all would round down. It's never going to make a difference of more than one vote though, so negligible.

    If we were really concerned about having it all exact, the subsequent counts would all be done proportionally too. In a close one like MNW in 2014, it's not unthinkable that the difference could be made by the way we do it.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Two interesting (and related) articles in this week's Mayo News about how fine the margins can be when it comes to the distribution of transfers:

    The finest of margins

    When 1/50th of a vote decided an election


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,070 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Votes to be transferred are indeed randomly sampled. The first count votes are broken up and mixed up using bins in the count area so that any concentration is scattered. The impression given of a 'stack' of votes is false.

    This can be proven in cases of full recounts, where the transfer is carried out a few times and never produces a large variance from the original


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