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Local Elections- STV

(35 Posts)
HLBug Fri 07-Apr-17 18:13:58

Can someone please explain STV to me in the simplest way possible?!

Some things I don't understand:

- if you meet the 'quota' do you automatically get elected?
- how are votes 'scored'? Assume first preference is worth more than second preference etc etc etc...?
- if they stop counting your votes once you get to the quota, do your second preference votes get 'upgraded' to first preference votes? Surely not as this seems daft?
- is it better to only vote for those you actually want to see elected (e.g. 3 of 7 candidates on list) rather than score them all 1 - 7?
- what is the best way to vote strategically?

I'm a fairly intelligent person, but just can't seem to get my head around it!!

HLBug Fri 07-Apr-17 18:14:16

This extract from the BBC News website is seemingly helpful...but still leaving me confused:

"^Unlike the more well-known first-past-the-post system, candidates don't need a majority or more votes than their competitors to be elected, just a known or share, or "quota".
The votes are counted in stages. During the first stage only the first preferences are counted and anyone who reaches the quota is elected.

Leftover votes are then transferred to the second preference, and if not enough candidates hit the quota, the one with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and all their votes are passed to the next preference on the ballot papers.

The process is repeated until three or four candidates have been elected.

STV also means that the parties have to think about how many candidates to put up in each ward. The influence of a vote may be limited if a person only votes for a few candidates. "

prettybird Fri 07-Apr-17 21:00:36

If you've reached "quota" on the 1st round, then yes, you automatically get selected.

They are not "scored" in any way: the different preferences are not "worth" more per se.

If no candidates reach quota, the "least" voted for as a 1st preference gets his/her votes reallocated according to the 2nd preferences for those that had voted for them.

Once a candidate has reached "quota", only those votes above the quota get re-allocated (I think - not sure how they work that out)

No you don't need to rank all the candidates. If there are only 3 or 4 you like/can thole, only rank those 3 or 4. In fact, you shouldn't rank people you don't want, as if the candidates you do want get eliminated in the first few rounds, then if you've ranked more even though you don't like them, your vote will count for them (say your 1st 4 preferences don't reach quota, bit you'd put down 5 even though you don't like the 5th, you'd effectively have voted for that person hmm).

I think it was in a by-election that Nicola Sturgeon's dad won the first round but didn't reach quota and it was only in the sixth round that the Labour candidate won (ie 4 other candidates had been "eliminated" and their next preferences allocated - and it was the Conservative votes then being allocated to Labour that won them the seat)

Because you are voting for a person, not a party, if you want all the candidates for that party to be elected, you need to rank them in your top preferences. There is a disadvantage for people with surnames towards the end of the alphabet, as they are ordered alphabetically on the ballot paper I could never stand as I'd be at such a disadvantage

HLBug Fri 07-Apr-17 22:50:14

Thanks for taking the time to reply prettybird - that's definitely helped answer some of my questions. It's still so confusing though - what's so wrong with good ol' first past the post?!

This is the bit that really gets me:

"If no candidates reach quota, the "least" voted for as a 1st preference gets his/her votes reallocated according to the 2nd preferences for those that had voted for them."

I feel like I need someone to write out a worked example so I can take my brain through it slowly...step by step!

prettybird Sat 08-Apr-17 00:09:04

I found this worked example

I used to think the d'Hondt system (used for Holyrood) was complicated until I tried to get my head around STV.

I think I prefer the d'Hondt system (especially the hybrid we have in Scotland of constituency and regional list MSPs - although it does mean that even candidates who are rejected by the constituents can get to be an MSP of their party has put them at the top of the list --I'm looking at you Sarwar--) as it means a parliament that should reflect the proportions that were voted for (except in 2011 when the SNP "broke" the system and got a higher proportion than they "should" have got).

STV arguably gives too high an influence to those who vote for the least popular parties as theirs are the first (and possibly only) votes to get redistributed according to their 2nd etc preferences.

But at least it does try to ensure that whoever gets voted in does have at least a threshold of support.

FPTP can result in situations like 56 SNP MPs going to Westminster, which doesn't actually reflect the shape of Scottish politics.

cdtaylornats Sat 08-Apr-17 12:01:07

prettybird - yay for using thole

prettybird Sat 08-Apr-17 13:38:51

cdtaylornats - "thole" is one of my favourite a Scottish words. I've told lots of English people how to use it correctly (in that it always needs a subject) because there isn't a direct equivalent in English English. grin

howabout Sat 08-Apr-17 15:14:47

Still completely confused by STV pretty but the main issue is being completely conflicted with local politics vs sending the correct message at National level.

Just wanted to chip in on your definition of thole. According to my farming Grandpa a cow in calf could be described as a bad tholer if she made too much of a song and dance about the whole thing.

prettybird Sat 08-Apr-17 15:45:40

Never used it as a noun grin

Interesting point about national v local politics. All the literature I have seen so far has been Labour, Conservatives and LibDems making a song & dance about sending a message nationally about something that councils have no remit on whatsoever hmm, whereas the SNP literature is purely about local issues confused.

I had a argument discussion with dh last night about my view that all local councillors should be independent; that there shouldn't be "parties" at a local level.

One of my local councillors is a Conservative; as the only Tory on the council, he is actually quite effective as he doesn't have to toe any party line. smile

My dad in East Dunbartonshire is not going to vote SNP even though he supports Indy because of the absolute cods in his view sad that they have made about a local issue that is closer to his heart (he has been cycling for much longer than he has supported Indy smile). He will be telling any SNP canvassers that that is why he won't vote for them - to make them aware that their local approach has lost them votes. He'll probably vote Green instead or maybe LibDem (depends on what they say to him).

Sturmundcalm Sat 08-Apr-17 22:52:24

If a candidate drops out during the process then their second preference votes get transferred as a "whole" vote to the other candidates. If a candidate gets elected and has votes over the quota then once they are elected their surplus votes are transferred to other candidates as a part vote - although not sure what weighting is used and it's a Saturday night ;-)

OOAOML Wed 12-Apr-17 11:03:07

At the time of the most recent NI election there was a really good YouTube video being shared which showed STV in action - I'm having a sneaky work-Mumsnet visit so can't look just now, anyone else remember it?

The LibDem council candidates here are apparently going to protect Scotland's place in both the UK and the EU - I know Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, but I didn't think our council was that powerful confused

OOAOML Wed 12-Apr-17 13:43:48

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 12-Apr-17 13:49:18

Prettybird to be fair, the whole Bearsway thing was a total cockup, and I think the SNP councillors came out of it very badly - playing party politics over what was actually beneficial to the local area.

They may well get bumped down my preferences due to that rather unedifying debacle.

prettybird Wed 12-Apr-17 15:15:58

At the risk of sidetracking the purpose of this thread: the SNP do indeed seem to be making a mess of their approach to Bearsway. SNP Councillors have said (variously) that not enough people cycle it yet to warrant extending it (yes, because it stops before the dangerous bits), that no one commutes by bike (tell that to my father who commuted for nearly 40 years - and more people are commuting now) or should find quiet back routes to use (there isn't an alternative route if you are going into Glasgow from Milngavie confused) and that children shouldn't be on segregated cycle routes - they should be in parks. hmm

Way to go for Active Travel hmm #SNP #SNPEDC

HLBug Wed 12-Apr-17 20:19:50

OOAOML I just watched that video. Wow. I had this face confused and this face hmm and a little bit of this face angry. I need to watch it again (and again and again) and take some study notes...!! Thanks for sharing as it's the closest thing I've seen to a 'plain english' example. (prettybird the Moray page is down unfortunately)

I actually work in local government. In a local authority expected to have a good number of new Councillors (even if end result is the same). What percentage of the electorate actually understands STV do you think?!

Things have been quite quiet round here. The Labour candidate has been working hard doing door to doors for a good few weeks, but nothing through my door from anyone else. We've got a couple of new independents running in my ward, both ex community councillors, so that should make things interesting too.

prettybird Wed 12-Apr-17 21:29:17

HLbug - I did try to do a worked example myself for you but it was making my brain hurt too much doing it on my phone, which was why I found a worked example on-line. Shame it's down - I'll see if I can found another one and check that I copied the full link

prettybird Wed 12-Apr-17 21:35:46

See if this link works

NoLotteryWinYet Thu 13-Apr-17 11:45:07

interesting idea of local councillors becoming independent - it reflects that councillors are picking up more and more case work, so they're like an outreach position helping people to access services effectively. I do agree it's sad when they get punished for national issues they have very little control over whereas really they should stand or fall on their local remit. The media has partly created this situation by making predictions about national elections from local elections.

I believe our local labour councillors are pretty competent - unfortunately I can't bring myself to vote labour because of the Westminster party leader.

prettybird Fri 14-Apr-17 08:12:06

Another article here.

Even though Wee Ginger Dug is an Indy supporter, it describes how it is possible to vote strategically, in that by using all your votes, it is possible, in effect, to vote against someone.

He also provides a worked example.

Use it according to your preferences. smile

OOAOML Fri 14-Apr-17 10:04:04

Thanks prettybird - although if I'm going to rank everyone I have to decide who makes me boak more, the Tory or the Independent who a quick google tells me used to be a UKIP candidate.

prettybird Fri 14-Apr-17 10:44:35

Hmmmm - difficult one that. Has the Conservative been a councillor before and if so, has he been effective? I refuse to believe that anyone who has been UKIP could be effective wink

I'll need to check my local candidates: the Tory to be fair has been an effective local councillor (and as the only Tory on the council is not exactly going to lead an administration grin), whereas the Labour councillor has been totally invisible. The SNP councillor (now a Baillie) has also been hard working.

We were in a three councillor ward (so had one Labour, one SNP, one Tory) and with boundary changes are now in a 4 councillor ward.

I suspect the end result will be two SNP (only two standing - one female and the long standing incumbent), one Labour and one Tory but I'd love to see a Green councillor in the mix.

OOAOML Fri 14-Apr-17 13:09:54

No, Conservative has not been a councillor before. She looks like a fairly pleasant professional, and wants better pavements, cleaner streets and better bin collections - which, to be honest, they all do and it would be a weird council candidate that didn't. I will probably rank her just above the pseudo-Kipper.

We have moved (but not far) plus boundaries have been altered, and quite a lot of long-term councillors are not standing (I think some are doing it to save face as not likely to get re-elected) so I find it hard to predict how it will go. I think (4 member ward) we'll end up with 2 SNP, 1 Green and I wouldn't like to bet between Labour and Lib Dem. In my old ward, we had one Labour, one SNP and one Green and to be fair they're all fairly hard-working and I know them all reasonably well (on parent council so see them regularly).

prettybird Fri 14-Apr-17 14:31:49

I've never seen the Labour councillor at either primary school or secondary school parent council meetings.

At at our secondary PTC AGM, we had 2 SNP councillors (school covers a number of wards, so "my" councillor and the one for an adjoining ward possibly the future leader if the council--), the SNP MP and the Labour --ex MP list MSP attending. Our constituency MSP didn't attend, but she has been to other meetings at the school and is usually fairly busy doing Government stuff wink

OOAOML Fri 14-Apr-17 15:35:23

We get quite good attendance - Tory (not from the ward the school is in but covers catchment) almost every time, Labour and SNP variable, Green often missing due to childcare issues but happy to provide info and take actions. Former MSP (Labour) used to attend sometimes, but mainly when there were issues about threatened closure. Current MSP (SNP) hasn't attended but has offered support with current issues. Not sure about high school - I am resolutely sitting on my hands and not volunteering for that one as primary has taken up quite a lot of my time.

prettybird Fri 05-May-17 10:51:10

Have to say I was impressed by ds: at 16, his first time voting. Went off to vote on his bike and was back in 10 minutes, having ranked all 8 candidates. Had thought through his ranking even appears to have listened to us for the relative ranking of the 2 Labour candidates He put Green top as they bothered to come round with a specific letter to him as a first time voter.
He did what the Conservatives asked by sending a message on a non-local issue - and put the Conservative candidate last grin
Got 2 SNP leaflets delivered, no Labour shock (despite them supposedly wanting to hold the city), no LibDems and one leaflet from the Conservatives.

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