Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Explained: How the voting system for the Scottish local elections works, and the BEST voting strategy for supporters of independence to use (listen on the Scot Goes Popcast)

As promised, and just in the nick of time, I'm using Episode 16 of the Scot Goes Popcast to explain how the notoriously complicated Single Transferable Vote (STV) system works, and to set out why ranking all or almost all of the candidates in your ward is by far the best voting strategy for independence supporters tomorrow. 

I've been meaning for some time to try to explode some of the myths relating to STV that have been doing the rounds.  Here are three myths I've heard recently -

"It can be very dangerous to use your lower preferences, because you may find that you're accidentally helping to defeat the candidate you give your top preference to" - RUBBISH.  Using your lower preferences is, in fact, an entirely risk-free thing to do and cannot harm your favourite candidate in any way whatsoever.

"There is no effective way of voting against a party or candidate in this system" - RUBBISH.  If you rank every other candidate ahead of your least favourite party or candidate, you are voting against the latter comprehensively, and with great precision and effectiveness.

"Lower preferences are still votes, and nobody should be voting for unionist parties, therefore you shouldn't use your lower preferences at all" - RUBBISH.  Voters who rank all of the candidates with the Tories rock bottom are voting against the Tories properly.  Voters who don't rank unionist parties with their lowest preferences are not fully voting against the Tories, and may in some circumstances be helping the Tories to win seats.  

Hopefully I've managed to explain all of these points and more in the podcast, which you can listen to via the embedded player below, or via the direct Soundcloud link HERE, or on YouTube HERE.  The Scot Goes Popcast is also available on Stitcher and Spotify.


8 comments:

  1. Thicko WGD numpty Hamish100 thinks they will be a referendum soon but Sturgeon is a now a bigger liar than Johnston, but even she is not as big a liar as that weel kent Scottish/Irish liar Skier.

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    1. Boring imposter at 9.38am. Got news for you numpty. You won't stop me posting.

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    2. Boring childish imposter at 3.13pm.

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  2. James, it's clear that all transferable votes for candidates who don't reach the quota are transferred, but how do they decide which excess votes are transferred? I assume not everyone gives the same preferences so which ones are transferred must have a bearing on how the subsequent rounds of voting go. I assume this is fiendishly complex, but it would be interesting to know.

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    1. "Fractional Transfers

      The fractional method – used for all STV elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland and elections to the Australian and Irish Senates – involves all votes for a winning candidate being transferred, but at a fractional value.

      If 1,000 votes have been cast for a winning candidate on a quota of 750, rather than transfer a quarter of the votes at full value, you transfer all of the votes at value of 0.25. These fractions of votes will then be transferred to their voters’ next preference and will hold this value until they are used up or become part of another surplus and are split into smaller fractions."

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  3. Hi James, good 'just in the nick of time...' advice for voters. Unfortunately a wee bit tlate for us postal voters.

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  4. Under the Johnson and Sturgeon governments Scotland is on its way to defining a hot shower as a luxury item for a lot of its people. What a disgrace for an energy rich country.

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