Saturday, April 15, 2017

A guide to the local election voting system

Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new article in The National, about the Single Transferable Vote system that will be used to elect our local councils next month, and in particular about why it's so important for pro-independence voters to rank all or most of the candidates in their ward.  You can read the article HERE.

50 comments:

  1. Thank you James once again , there are an awful lot of people out there that are STILL totally confused .

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    1. It's easy enough.

      All the Pro-Indy parties first like SNP, Greens - 1234 etc

      Unaffiliated and lib dems in the middle - 5678 etc.

      Second last is Red Tory SLAB then put Ruth's SCON Tories last 9,10,11,12 etc.





























      .

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  2. And once the National article has gone out, there will be 3 more people who are not confused.

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    1. Does anyone else remember when Aldo conducted himself with grace and good humour? I miss that.

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    2. I hope that mean someone else has taken over the job of being Aldo rather than the good humoured one has lost it

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  3. I'm one of those that now sign my letters with Totally Confused Charles.I now still don't understand but will listen to those that know better and actually do studies on it,(the STV voting) Its the word "Preference" if I never preferred someone or some party then they never got me counting for them,I think we need to change the system first chance we get.To me it looks like the STV system was created to make sure we the independence supporters could never get enough seats at any parliament to make a difference,we can.

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    1. If you go to Wikipedia and look up "Scottish local elections 2012" and look at the political map, you will see that the vast majority of local councils are coloured black, meaning no overall control by a single party. This is what STV was for - forcing the creation of governing coalitions at the local level and allowing for consensus politics.

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    2. Don't be daft Charles. It's a widely used system and simply designed to make every vote count as much as possible.

      What you and many others are forgetting is that the design allows voters to vote against candidates as well as for them. Big numbers are votes against and if you don't use your big numbers you're passing up the chance to say "over my dead body" to the candidate you rank last.

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    3. To me it looks like the STV system was created to make sure we the independence supporters could never get enough seats at any parliament to make a difference,we can.

      It's used for council elections, not parliamentary ones. Since you admit you don't understand it, how can you possibly deduce that its purpose is to minimise the number of indy-supporting representatives?

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  4. A friend emailed the Electoral Commission, who advised as follows: "the Commission strongly advises that voters should only number as many candidates as they support. Any candidates which the voter does not support should not be numbered. No other marking should be made to indicate preference one way or the other". Worrying.

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    1. Seems fairly sound advice. Why would you vote for a candidate you don't support? Unless, you are willing to admit that you support Labour and the Lib Dems a wee bit (over the tories and UKIP). However, such an admission would destroy the nationalist narrative of multicoloured tories all being as bad as each other.

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    2. Because lower preferences aren't "voting for" someone. Indicating you'd rather your inevitable unionist councillor was a LibDem rather than a Tory doesn't mean you "support the LibDems a wee bit".

      Using all your preferences is the way to cast the transferred fraction of your vote against the candidate you'd least like to see elected. It's the means by which you vote against that candidate. I strongly susoect whoever answered that email at the Electoral Commission doesn't understand the system and hasn't thought it through either.

      They need to talk to someone from Northern Ireland.

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    3. However, such an admission would destroy the nationalist narrative of multicoloured tories all being as bad as each other.

      Is that the "nationalist narrative"? This nationalist blog has consistently been promoting the opposite view for weeks now.

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    4. No, I think the email was spot on. They are basically saying you should not list a preference beside anyone whose election you could not accept in good conscience - as even a low preference could tip the scales and elect that person, in certain rare and extreme circumstances. What James is saying is that SNP, Green, RISE, Socialist, Lib Dem and Labour are all acceptable (if ordered in a particular way) but Tories and UKIP are not. That seems to tie in with what the electoral commission has said.

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    5. "The undecideds and the bottlers will put it in the back of the net for 'remain'. I'm sure Cameron also has a few tricks up his sleeve to deploy in the dying days of the campaign."

      Carlotta 'Aldo' Vance

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    6. Would that be the Northern Ireland where, at least before the last election, only 8% of nationalist and 6% of unionist parties give a preference to a candidate of the opposite persuasion. Where the average number of preferences is 3 and rarely are more than 5 given?

      Obviously that might have changed in the last election. If so then please provide updated statistics. Otherwise stop bigging up Northern Ireland as somewhere to emulate when on average only one in fourteen do as you advocate.

      On the other hand as each ward election is for 3 or 4 councilors then you might reasonably argue that you should at least give that number of preferences, or one more as a backup.

      Finally, decide in advance whether you can live with the consequences of contributing to a Lib Dem making quota or not. Historical evidence shows that there's a slight bias towards next preferences outwith LD to Conservatives over Labour.

      If the aim is to keep out Tories then you need to either hope enough independence minded voters vote as recommended so their next preferences swing the overall balance towards Labour or simply place Labour ahead in your preferrences.

      Don't even think about a preference for a Tory if there's any other candidates between them and their fellows​.

      The "gamble" you take when voting under this system is that if any part of your vote goes towards actually electing someone then, in effect, you release some of everyone else who voted for them's votes too. Fortunately the way you can no longer vote for an already elected candidate goes some way to reduce the chances of inadvertently contributing to the election of the unsavoury hanger on of a more popular candidate.

      Basically STV is fairly easy to understand but there are quirks that make it difficult to actually vote against someone. The best you can do state as many preferences as you care to.


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  5. I wonder how many read the National. Or is it the Joke Jock version of Pravda. The gospel according to.

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    1. 10,000 copies sold. 40,000 circulation. As those buying it are dedicated nationalists who probably campaign for independence and vote tactically anyway, its preaching to the converted. Maybe they could have a wider appeal if they weren't so overtly single issue as well as being hard left. Even yessers don't necessarily agree with the pro-europe, pro-immigration, welfarist and pacifist message of the national. It's almost as if its written by students exclusively for their ideal audience i.e. people exactly like them.

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    2. The DM Reporter‏ @DMReporter Apr 8

      #DailyMailGrandNational odds

      Brownshirt Hurrahs 3/1 FAV
      Humiliated by Wikipedia 7/2
      Copied from Buzzfeed 9/1
      Dacre’s Knighthood 10,000/1


      #DailyMailGrandNational odds:

      I’m Not Racist But… 2/1 FAV
      Flaunting Her Curves 5/1
      Immigrant Flood 12/1
      Katie Hopkins Libel Fund 325,000/1

      #DailyMailGrandNational odds:

      Vile Twitter Troll 2/1 FAV
      Scare Quotes 5/1
      NHS Obesity Timebomb 7/1
      All Grown Up 13/1

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  6. Well, i would say the circulation total is about 10k. NOT too bad. After only three years it has one third to one fourth the market penetration of USA TODAY. But then again why not trash your gracious host. To recap, life is not about just rewarding the good. Think of the ballot as choosing a hotel or Restaurant.the ones you love on top. The ones that are mediocre in the middle. On the bottom are those that give you food poisoning.if you KNOW you are gonna have to go out with your Aunt to eat, and she asks you where you want to go , wouldnt you say " not the Torie May diner" please, i get sick everytime we go there.i guess the " corbin blue cafeteria" meatloaf is ok.at least it doesnt kill me.

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  7. Hello James I am a pro independence independent candidate for Glasgow City Council from ward 16 also known as the Canal ward. You article in todays National was very good. I hope people in my ward follow your instructions and vote me in.
    Best regards
    Amjad Mirza

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    1. Trying to get on board the gravy train then?

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    2. Just like thatcher and major and cameron and may and the queen and bbc comentators...

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    3. Kim Yung Eck collapses on march tae London and is resuscitated by Hearts pie and gravy.

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    4. The poster above is a far-right racist troll from EnglandApril 16, 2017 at 12:16 AM

      The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist Neo-Nazi hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister

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    5. The poster above at 12:16am is a regular troll in Glesga Public toilets and leading willie watcher. He takes the favourite from left, right or centre and is an avid reader of Morag the Sheep on page three of the National rag.

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    6. The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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  8. Off topic I know but it appears that North Korea has chosen not to go ahead with their nuclear test. There was plenty of marching around and showcasing weapons - but no nuclear test.

    Maybe Trump's John Wayne approach to the presidency is the correct one.

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    1. North Korea and nukes are a hoax and do not exist.
      https://youtu.be/DTrcxkX2TFI

      John Wayne was a woman.
      https://youtu.be/cujsjK9S63A

      Donald Trump is a woman.
      https://youtu.be/5VUD33FBUaw

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  9. Rape Clause Ruth and her revolting kipper toriesApril 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    Shy Retirer‏ @RobertTyreBute 10h

    Absolutely outstanding demolition of #RapeClauseRuth by @kmckenna63

    pic.twitter.com/yraurDpZdo

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  10. Hi James.

    As an SNP member in Falkirk this is the advice we're being told to follow :

    Single Transferable Voting
    Key points:
    • This is our third time voting using this form of STV and lessons have been learned each time so please follow SNP advice to achieve the best result.

    • STV works because votes can transfer, so if you rate a candidate and they do not meet the quota they drop out. Their votes then transfer to the other candidates according to voter’s second choice votes and so on.

    • When you rate a candidate you are essentially giving them a vote so we recommend rating SNP only or SNP 1 and 2 or 2 and 1, depending on your area. Local election agents have this work out precisely to get SNP single candidates and teams elected. You will get a leaflet through your door advising which order you should rate SNP candidates.

    • The most important thing to note is that you DO NOT HAVE TO RATE ALL CANDIDATES.
    None of the parties advocate voting for every candidate, only their own, so this tells us they have all worked out that this strategy is their best chance of winning the election.

    • There is a huge difference between a bloggers opinion and a campaigner's experience, not to mention the party organisers who have spent months and years trying to get the best out of this system.

    • If you are considering voting for candidates other than SNP find out what they stand for. They may not be as independent as they claim.

    I'm pretty firm on what I should be doing, which aligns closely with your own views, but I wonder if you could provide some feedback on the advice given if you have the time James?

    If James is AWOL somewhere maybe Rolfe could give his opinion?

    Cheers :-)

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    1. Understandable as it's a simple message, and correct in that you don't have to rank everyone and we should check how independent the independent candidates are. but otherwise still wrong. It ignores three things:

      1. Ranking all the candidates isn't simply blogger opinion, but is evidence based. Lower ranks only count once a candidate is eliminated or elected so they *cannot* affect what happens to your higher ranked votes.

      2. Other parties are suggesting to rank other parties! Comedy stuntman Murdo Fraser being a case in point.

      3. We have had this system for three elections but other countries have had it for far longer and understand how to maximise your vote by using all preferences - this is how the DUP were tackled in NI last month.

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    2. 'Find out what they stand for'. We know what you Nat sis stand for! Nationalism and continuing to be in the hands of the bankers with the pretense of being socialists.

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    3. That advice is basically dud, written by someone who doesn't understand the full ramifications of the system. Of course the bit about giving your top preferences to SNP and then any other pro-independence candidate is sound enough but anyone able to walk and chew gum at the same time should be able to work that out.

      What they are completely missing is that if a part of your vote (and it is going to be only a fractional transfer as it's pretty certain your SNP candidate is going to get a seta) helps a unionist candidate get elected, this will still be according to your preferences.

      Suppose you rank the LibDem candidate above the Tory. Your vote (or fraction of a vote) might indeed help the LibDem candidate get a seat, BUT ONLY BY HELPING HIM WIN AGAINST THE TORY. By the time your remaining bit of vote gets to the LibDem, all your higher choices are already elected or eliminated so this isn't going to boost the LibDem against any of these.

      Saying "don't rank unionists" is effectively saying "I don't care whether the Tory or the LibDem gets the last seat." Well, you bloody should care. LibDems aren't that bad in local government, the SNP may go ito coalition with them to run your council. Tories are pure poison. A Tory rather than a LibDem getting that last seat may even give the Tories enough coucillors to form the administration. (Never mind the boost extra Tory councillors will give to Theresa May.)

      I'm campaigning in Tweeddale. I put these points to our branch. The members and committee agreed I was right, but then the convenor handwaved it away with "we can't say that on the doorsteps though." It's incredibly short-sighted. There is a real danger the Tories might take enough seats from the LibDems here to regain control of Borders council from the SNP/LibDem coalition. We need all the SNP fractional transfers piling up on the LibDems to prevent that, and we're actively telling voters not to do it!

      That advice is ignorant, arrogant, and it's going to provide Theresa May with a significantly larger number of Tory councillors than might otherwise have been the case.

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    4. One other thing - "You will get a leaflet through your door advising which order you should rate SNP candidates." This is crucial. It's important to follow the recommended order for the SNP candidates so they can get a roughly even number of first preferences. This means neither will be knocked out early and both have a better chance of election.

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    5. Thanks for the feedback guys.

      What's remarkable is that there isn't even any advice to rank or 'rate', to use Falkirk branch terminology, other pro Indy candidates after the SNP.

      Wee bit more info is that there are 6 candidates in my ward & 4 to be elected from 2 SNP, 1 Green, 2 Labour & 1 Tory & we currently have a Labour/Tory/Independent administration.

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    6. That seems quite an easy one.

      1. SNP
      2. SNP
      3. Green
      4. Labour
      5. Labour
      6. Tory

      Find out if one of the Labour candidates is more of a good guy than the other and put him at no. 4. Anything's better than a Tory! (So long as you don't have UKIP or BNP or that sort of thing in the race.)

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    7. More than happy to rank Dennis Goldie 5th. The Goldie family business in Falkirk is politics & they've done very well out of it :-(

      Wee update from Falkirk SNP :

      Falkirk District Public Page - STV post
      The post on how to use STV to best advantage was put up for information. The intention was to turn off comments so it was purely for info and not discussion. Unfortunately you cannot turn the comments facility off on a public page like this so we will have to do our best with the comments and this might mean ignoring them.
      It would be a big help if folk locally would refrain from getting involved. The admin team are doing their best to deal with this but we did feel it was worth posting due to the misinformation out there.
      If any of our members are having difficulty with SNP advice, please speak to your candidates and election agents rather than posting on the public page.

      Dearie me :-(

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    8. I am absolutely gobsmacked by that advice in Falkirk. They have lost the plot. Let's make no bones about this - all the stuff about experience on the ground trumping "a blogger's opinion" is a monumental bluff designed to get dissenters to shut up. It is absolutely clear from what they've written that they don't understand the voting system. If I was talking to them, I'd pick them up on their claim that giving a low ranking to a candidate effectively means you are voting for that person, and ask them to explain step-by-step what they actually mean by that. You'd quickly find they wouldn't be able to, because it literally makes no sense.

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    9. Cheers for that James. I've not been directly involved with the branch, just talking with local SNP members in person & online. Probably just as well as I'm sure I'd be viewed as exceedingly divisive & not on message!

      I'm beginning to think ALL SNP branches are pumping out this 'strategy' going by all the discussions I've had.

      Kirsty Blackman was saying exactly the same thing on Facebook a few days ago, so I left the following reply :

      As an SNP member this is distinctly unhelpful advice.
      Saying "Ranking everyone only makes sense if you support everyone to varying degrees.", is entirely disingenuous.
      It isn't "supporting" them, it's "influencing" where they finish.
      STV is a "preferential" voting system, hence ranking unionist candidates AFTER Indy ones is both worthwhile & essential.
      Ranking unionists from the bottom up (in my case a Tory last) can in NO way affect my previous pro Indy choices.
      By not ranking & leaving unionist candidates blank it is physically impossible to have ANY influence on where they finish. That's just abstaining & "wasting" your vote.
      No rank = no influence.
      And when others have produced evidence as to why ranking unionist candidates is the best strategy, it's not acceptable to say "He's wrong" & "It's wrong too".
      Counter arguments with evidence is required please 😊

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  11. I think the system is very easy to grasp. Heck even the thick Yoons can understand it since they are advocating a vote for any anti Scottish bigot before any pro Indy candidate.

    The problem with where I have the vote is that I basically have 2 pro Indy candidates and then 5 rabid Scot deniers. Well the Yoons whatever their political colour aren't campaigning about providing local services.

    It comes down to this for me and depressingly so and that is I am damned if I use my lower preference votes and damned if I don't. I hate STV!

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    1. Why not use your lower preferences? This idea that putting a low preference against a candidate is some sort of seal of approval is really misguided. It's not.

      To hijack a guide I saw elsewhere, it's basically ranking "Satan's lovechild" above "actual Satan". Your vote won't help Satan's Lovechild in any way unless it's down to a straight run-off between him and actual Satan.

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    2. I don't like STV either, but this isn't why. It really does empower the voters, and you use your power to the max by keeping your vote in play as long as possible.

      Not ranking all the way down the paper is in effect abstaining if and when it gets to the point that the last seat run-off is between two unionists. And it's unlikely really to be the case that when faced with a straight choice between Tory and not-a-Tory, that you genuinely don't care.

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  12. Jock nat sis promising if they obtain power in Glesga they will extend the Glesga Underground north and eastwards. They did not mention where the billions will come from. Just like GARL they will turn it into a white elephant. Vote Labour and get rid of the Nat si lying scum.

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    1. The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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    2. I admire your Nat si intellect.

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    3. The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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  13. The poster above is a far-right racist troll from EnglandApril 17, 2017 at 10:13 PM

    The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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  14. Nat sis policies: 1. Lie to the teeth. 2. Carry on with Thatcherite policies. 3. Blame the English. 4. Blame the English. 5. Pretend to make progressive policies. 6. Lie to the teeth. 7. Blame the English.......... And it goes on and on and on. Have a sandwich, go on go on.

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