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[council] Expert Advice on Elections Process - and Formal Amendment
Dear Names Council,
I asked Fay Howard to discuss the election process proposed by Javier with
the UK Electoral Reform Society, and the expert view provided by Mr. Simon
Hearn is that it is not a sound process and could lead to unrepresentative
results. In particular the requirement for a confirmation vote in order to
meet the 50% rule could result in the candidate with the highest number of
votes being summarily eliminated (not that this is intended, of course).
The advice is to use a Single Transferable Vote.
The Electors (19 voters at this time) list their candidates in order of
preference - 1, 2, 3 etc. (Even I can do that).
The person with the highest number of first preferences (No. 1s) gets seat
A, provided they get the required quota of votes (19 seats divided by 3 + 1
- i.e. 5 votes). Other candidates from the winner's region are then
eliminated and their votes redistributed for
the next stage, in the usual way and so on.
If nobody reaches the quota on the first count, which is more than likely
if there are many candidates, the candidate with the least votes is
eliminated and his/her votes are redistributed, and this proceeds
repeatedly until someone passes the quota mark.
Once a person is elected to Seat A, their surplus of votes is redistributed
according to the next preferences indicated on the votes cast for them.
The next person past the quota get seat B - after which candidates from
seat B winner's region are also eliminated for the next round and their
votes redistributed (always providing there are candidates from other
It may sound complicated, but a simple program gives the results
This method is fair, guarantees that the preferences of all the voters are
taken into account, and definitely gives a geographically diverse outcome.
It is also a standard process, and can be objectively scrutinised by an
independent expert. It is also understood to be sound, PROVIDED that the
geographically diverse elimination mechanism is well publicised in advance
and is clear to all the voters (in this case the NA members - so this is
not an issue)
To meet the 50% rule, I suggest that we add the following. On completion
of the voting and elections as described above, a ratification vote is held
- i.e. the result is voted on the by Names Council, each member having one
vote. To ratify the election, the result must receive approval by 50% of
the votes cast. If the result fails this test, a new election is held.
(This provides a useful final confirmation (or rejection) process).
Now, I would be very happy to have input from any other organisation with
recognised election expertise in order to provide us with an alternative
However, I suggest we proceed as follows:
Announce the election, with a detailed time scale (we probably need a
little more discussion on this), etc. (Tomorrow ?)
Take the next 7 days to finalise the election process. (unless we can agree
to the above).
Publish the election process at the end of next week (the 23rd) so that
everyone knows where we are.
I would also like to see an explicit reference in the announcement to the
expectation that each Constituency will advise their Names Council members.
Lastly, I would like to insist that the election ballot is SECRET, not
public. A public ballot completely distorts the process because people
vote as they think the observers think they ought to vote, not according to
their preferences. The voting details can be published of course, but not
the voters names.
Please consider the above a formal motion to amend Javier's proposal.