Monday, October 31, 2011

Preferential ballot

Our current system of electing the Metro Electoral Area A Director is a first past the post system - that is the candidate with the largest number of votes, irrespective of whether they have a majority of the votes, gets the job.  This tends to generate a system in which a well organized minority voice can easily win the election.

Why not use a preferential balloting system when more than two candidates are running?  It would certainly lend authority and legitimacy to the candidate who then wins.  In our current situation the last candidate to win did so with a clear minority of votes.  Had we had a preferential ballot the outcome would have been unambiguously the choice of the majority of voters.

The most common preferential voting system works by voters ranking their choices.  When votes are tabulated the last place candidates votes are redistributed to the other candidates in successive waves until one candidate is assigned a simple plurality.  The end result is the election of a candidate who is the majority choice of all and ensure that a minority perspective candidate is not elected.

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