I was toying with the idea of doing one of my "how the voting system works" blogposts just before the SNP leadership ballot got underway, but I began to think it was unnecessary because I had looked back at past internal elections in different parties and realised that the vast majority of members do actually rank more than one candidate. However, our regular commenter Keaton has gone and put a doubt in my mind by saying that he thinks Humza Yousaf might sneak the win, because not enough Ash Regan supporters understand the voting system and therefore may not give any second preference at all. I'm not at all sure that's true, but just on a belt-and-braces basis, here's a reminder of why using a second preference is so vitally important and why it's a totally risk-free thing to do.
The name of the voting system being used in the leadership ballot is the Single Transferable Vote, and it's the same system used in multi-member local election wards in Scotland - although in practice when only one person is being elected it is functionally identical to the Alternative Vote system that the UK had a referendum on back in 2011. The name Single Transferable Vote helpfully sums up the system in quite a literal way. It may seem strange to call it a 'single vote' when you're able to rank more than one candidate, but it genuinely is 'single' in the sense that it can only be in one place at any one time - ie. on any given count, it will only count towards one candidate's tally of votes. There will be no 'half-votes' or 'diluted votes', so you don't need to worry that your first preference vote for Ash Regan will somehow be 'less emphatic' if you give a second preference to Kate Forbes. (My guess is that's the irrational worry that causes some people to wrongly use only their first preference vote.) When the first preference count is revealed, everybody who gave Ash Regan their first preference will simply have cast one vote for Ash Regan and for nobody else. There will be no distinction made between Regan voters who gave a second preference and Regan voters who didn't. Those will all just be Regan votes and nothing else.
However, if Ash Regan is eliminated after the first count (as we strongly suspect she will be), you then actively want your single vote to be transferred to another candidate for the second and final count. You can't do Regan any good whatsoever by not having your vote transferred, because in the second count she's not a candidate anymore. Your first preference for Regan has already been recorded and will be reported in the media, so there literally is nothing to be gained by not giving a second preference - which would be tantamount to abstaining on what will be a Yousaf v Forbes run-off on the second count. If you prefer Forbes to Yousaf (as most Regan supporters do), not giving a second preference means you are passively helping Yousaf to beat Forbes, which is an utterly perverse thing to do - and let's be honest, Ash Regan herself would not thank you for doing that. I have no doubt that she'd far rather serve in a senior Cabinet post under First Minister Kate Forbes than find herself languishing on the backbenches under "First Activist" (ahem) Humza Yousaf.
Voted already. As has my wife. I wonder if the cast majority of people, like us, will vote early. It was a very easy process.ReplyDelete
If you leave it late then it might be trickier to find that email you got with the instructions.
One slight concern I have is a scenario in which Kate Forbes only beats Ash Regan by a percent or two in the first round, with Humza Yousaf much further ahead, say 31%, 29% and 40% respectively. Kate then sweeps past him in the second round to squeak a victory, let’s say by 52% to 48%, since those are numbers we all know and love.ReplyDelete
Now, I know that’s how the system works and it’s a perfectly valid path to victory, but given all the prominent backers that have come out for Humza I fear Kate might find it difficult to establish her leadership in any event. Doing so having “only” been top choice of relatively few members might embolden any mischief makers amongst our parliamentarians and make it all but impossible.
For that reason, plus her performances since around day 5 of her campaign, I’m going with Kate 1 and Ash 2. I just hope that the second preferences from round 1 are also recorded and published.
3 votes for Kate Forbes in this house.ReplyDelete
... and here .Delete
I just noticed on the BBC Scotland website under the heading SNP leadership contest 2023, that support for independence in recent polls is broadly the same as the referendum result. A barefaced BBC lie.ReplyDelete
There are a lot of disturbing rumours on Twitter that the Yousaf campaign has access to the SNP's MiVoice account, which is running a live tabulation of all votes so far cast by SNP members.ReplyDelete
I don't quite understand why they need to have voting ongoing for a full fortnight. It seems to me that a lot could happen in that time to materially change people's opinions.ReplyDelete
HTF does a continuity candidate become the candidate for change over a three week leadership contest?ReplyDelete
Of all the things that don't smell right about this election is that the candidates are still campaigning and engaging in high pressure TV debates after voting has started and, it seems, after a good number of members have already cast their vote.ReplyDelete
Suppose one of the candidates goes off message under questioning last night on a policy that was important to you.
Or, more likely, one candidate (I won't bother saying which one) has access to the running total and can adjust their message to enhance their vote or attack their rival, desperately if required.
It really doesn't seem right and I've no idea why it's happening like this.
I hadn’t thought about that continuing campaigning aspect, it’s a good question. Union ballots are carried out over a period of time though, and the messages and speeches continue through that period. I did consider waiting until the end before casting my vote but didn’t trust myself or the system to let me in then. If any of the candidates are shown to have had access to voting as it progresses then they are politically dead, in a pre Johnson world. Sadly we live in a post Johnson world.Delete
Voted Regan 1 Forbes 2.ReplyDelete
If Humza wins it'll be time to end my membership.
aw will ye aye? ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzDelete
OT, but looking forward to James commenting on the ALBA claim that the latest poll figures could put Alex Salmond back in HolyroodReplyDelete
"Independence is always better than dependence." Says Jeremy Hunt in his budget speech revealing he is more of an independence supporter than all these glacial and gradualists SNP politicians like Wishart, McPherson, Smith, McDonald etc.ReplyDelete