The Single Transferable Vote (STV)
method of voting is used around the world, notably in government elections in
the Republic of Ireland and Australia. The University’s Single Transferable Vote regulations apply one of several recognised variants
The following explanation of the Single Transferable
Vote is republished by permission of the Electoral Reform Society
About the Single Transferable Vote
The Single Transferable Vote is a logical system of election designed to
attain its objectives with economy, efficiency and certainty. It ensures that as far as possible every vote
has a positive part in helping to elect some candidate, that no voting power is
wasted and that no voter has a greater influence on the result than any other.
This is achieved by giving each elector ONE vote, irrespective of
the number of vacancies to be filled, and making that vote transferable. Voting papers are completed by placing the
candidates into a preferred order against the figure ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, etc. The figure ‘1’ represents the vote and is
mandatory.* The rest are contingency
markings and optional but important as they can influence the final
result. For that reason the elector is
recommended to express preferences until he/she is unable to differentiate
between any remaining candidates.
When votes are counted, the Returning Officer works to a Quota. This is the number of votes a candidate
requires to be certain of election and is calculated to a simple arithmetical
Any candidate elected with more votes than needed (i.e. above the quota)
has surplus votes transferred to the remaining candidates – again using a set
formula. Votes of any candidates
excluded from the count through insufficient support are also transferred. In both cases the contingency markings come
into play, and thereby avoids votes being wasted as would be the case in the
It is important to remember that under no circumstances can a later
preference count against an earlier preference and that failure to record
preferences can limit the elector’s influence on the election result.
Prepared by Electoral Reform
* Please note that, under the University’s
STV regulations for elections, candidates are placed in preferred order by name
against the numbers ‘1’, ‘2’, etc.