Political

Single Transferable Vote: here’s why it makes sense (feat. animals)

This educational but fun video from CGP Grey explains the virtues of the Single Transferable Vote (STV), the version of electoral reform most favoured by Liberal Democrats.

Watch and enjoy:

John Stuart Mill was an early advocate for the use of STV, praising it in the nineteenth century. Alongside STV’s use in Northern Ireland (for all elections save Westminster general elections), it is also used for local government elections in Scotland. A route for councils to switch to STV for local elections in Wales has also been created, although so far none has.

You can help support the Single Transferable Vote (STV) in the UK by joining Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform and the Electoral Reform Society.

Bonus: STV election worked example

9 responses to “Single Transferable Vote: here’s why it makes sense (feat. animals)”

  1. and please, when the guardians of the status quo(ie those with a selfish interest in a system that distorts the result) say ‘well we had the AV referendum and people voted to stay with FPTP’, please point out to them that the referendum was tied up with regionalism and imposition of Unitary Authorities, so wasn’t a simple question. And in any case AV is one of the poorer forms of PR.

  2. – and another referendum is the last thing we need on ANY subject, we know how public opinion can be manipulated. And in any case we have a representative democracy where the elected have the power to do what they think is best for us all.. no need to ‘put it to the people’ and give control of opinion, and the result, to the Tory owned media..

  3. extensive polling was done in the time of the Thatcher govt, and results in Mrs T’s constituency showed that 73%* of her voters wanted a fairer voting system.
    Tony Blair could have just made the change when he took power but, realising he didn’t need to, he changed his mind. Could be that now Keir Starmer is unlikely to get a straight majority, and won’t form a govt without our help and/or the SNP, that now must be our best ever chance.
    * you might want to check my memory on that..

  4. I noticed one difference between this version of STV and ours, which is that the quota is not reduced when there are non-transferable votes, but that instead the final seat goes to a candidate who is below the original quota. Can this make a difference? If the quota is reduced should this not lead to further excess votes for Gorilla, Owl and Lion being reassigned according to their voters’ later preferences?

    Let’s say I am Tarsier and Gorillas always give Tarsiers higher preference than jungle animals other than gorillas; then reducing quotas might put me ahead of Turtle, thus gaining the last place. If different ways of counting the same election under STV can give different outcomes, how do we justify our choice of counting rules?

  5. Excellent explanations on STV. However the voter does not know of the system very well. Education has to be implemented to sell the system Marketing it). The internet should be flooded consistantly. That way it can be ingrained into the future psyche of the voter. .The party can start the selling on our sights and leaflets etc.Networking.

  6. I have been trying to persuade the National Association of Local Councils to use STV for its internal elections. They complain about the sameness of the people who get elected (all like me White, male and no longer young).
    While never getting rejected somehow it is never the time to change.
    Many organisations use STV but I have not found a good briefing document which explains its advantages for non political organisations.

  7. I agree with N Hunter that voters don’t know the system very well and a lot of public information will be vital. I will never forget being at our local PCC count in May 2021 and seeing thousands upon thousands of ballot papers voided for incorrect practice; if only those electors had fully read the instructions ! The difference could have put the Lib Dem candidate into second place, but as it was, no chance. (And this was just a simple version of STV.)
    I’m afraid people like Priti Patel will use public misunderstandings like this as justification to bring back FPTP for PCC and Mayoral elections.

  8. Personally I can’t see STV as PR (even if better than FPTP), and wonder why this is on the agenda rather than genuine PR as practise by our European neighbours. Is it because it’s better than nothing and full PR is even less likely to get adopted? And /or because of what I would say was a misguided desire to keep single member constituencies?

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