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Unless, like me, you’re an electoral systems nerd, you probably haven’t come across the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system before. STV is used in Wellington local body elections. To explain how it works I employ this long-winded analogy:
My friends and I were divided after purchasing four bargain bin DVDs from the Warehouse. Just what cinematic masterpiece were we to watch first? To determine, we used an STV system.
STV Rule One: Rank your top preference first
Of all the movies, I really wanted to watch a fantastic film called Pop Star Puppy where a small child’s dog was able to sing and compete on an American Idol knock-off. I ranked it number one, so it that had the largest proportion of my votes.
STV Rule Two: Rank candidates in descending order in preference
My second favourite was Bark Ranger a movie about a park ranger dog (I was clearly keen for a talking dog movie). This movie received number two. After that was A Horse for Summer, a terrible-looking horse movie, which fell into third place.
STV Rule Three: If you really don’t want a candidate to be elected, don’t give them a number at all
Lastly we had Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. Two of my friends wanted to watch this, but I felt I’d rather eat plastic. So I didn’t give it a number; therefore, it received no votes from me at all. This strategy succeeded (thank god).
In the final wash up Pop Star Puppy won, as it had the highest number of first and second preferences. Meaning that second preferences are important too!
I hope this explains STV to you a little more clearly. If not, there are lots of resources online which I encourage you to look at. Good luck voting!