Tory Guide to Local Elections
For the benefit of Big Jim 'Fully' Fullarton, sitting local councillor for Chirnside and round about, Tory candidate for East Berwickshire, here is the way tht the Single Transferable Vote will work. It was clear from his muddled meanderings last night at the Hutton and Paxton Community Council that Big Jim Conundrum has arather muddled view of the electoral system which he hopes will propel him back to Newtown St Boswells next week. His (uninformed but actually rather cunning advice) was for everyone to vote for all the candidates on the ballot paper but in order of preference. Thus me and the rest of us may well find ourselves actually casting a vote which might matter for Mr Big and Mrs O. No thanks
So follow closely:
1. The ballot paper lists the names of the candidates from each party. Voters vote by putting a '1' next to the name of their favoured candidate, a '2' next to the name of their next favoured candidate and so on. They stop allocating preferences when they cannot decide between the candidates – they do not need to vote for them all.
2. At the count, the number of votes which candidates need in order to be elected (the 'quota') is calculated by dividing the total number of valid ballot papers by the number of people to be elected plus one. For example, with 100 valid ballot papers and three places to be filled, the quota would be 25.
3. The ballot papers are sorted into piles according to the first preferences – the '1's. If any candidate has more first-preference votes than the quota, they are immediately elected.
4. The next stage is to transfer any surplus votes for these elected candidates, i.e. the difference between their vote and the quota needed to be elected. To avoid the problem of deciding which of the votes are surplus, all ballot papers are transferred but at a reduced value so that the total adds up to the number of surplus votes.
5. After all the surpluses have been transferred, we look to see whether all the places to be elected have been filled. If they have not, then the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded and his or her votes are transferred to the voters' second preferences.
6. This process of transferring surpluses and excluding candidates continues until enough candidates have reached the quota to fill all the places to be elected.
Anyone from Chirnside and environs not fully grasping this formula is advised not to
ask your local councillor for elucidation.