[E-voting] The best VVAT is good for

Andrew Ó Baoill andrew at funferal.org
Thu Oct 27 02:11:42 IST 2005


Our proportional representation system, particularly the 'vote- 
transfer' process as currently implemented, makes counting in  
individual voting places problematic.

Each voter places a '1' beside the candidate of their choice, a '2'  
beside their second choice, etc. We're using a 'single transferable  
vote' system - it's only if your first choice is elected or  
eliminated (see below) that your second choice comes into play.

The number of votes needed in order to be elected depends on the  
total number of valid votes in a constituency (district). So if you  
were counting in individual polling places you would need ongoing  
communication between polling places and a central point.

If no candidate gets a 'quota' their votes are redistributed to other  
candidates (in order of preference). This would be feasible, if  
somewhat complex in polling places (you would need additional piles  
for these votes, as you should keep them separate from votes that  
were originally for a candidate).

Where it gets really complex is when someone is elected. Then their  
'surplus' - the number of votes in excess of the quota - is  
distributed to other candidates. There are a number of ways this can  
be done, including:
(1) Distribute all votes, giving each distributed vote a fractional  
value of (surplus)/(total_votes_for_that_candidate). This is a long  
and complex process, and the figures would have to, again, be co- 
ordinated across polling places.
(2) Distribute some (pseudo)-random sample of (surplus) votes. In  
Ireland we use a variant based on the last votes to be added to a  
candidate's total.

It is the variant of surplus distribution that causes the major  
difficulty. If you have 50 polling places, and want to distribute 30  
votes, or 75, it becomes difficult to figure a fair way to pick the  
'random' votes for the surplus.

In addition, the multiple separate piles - you can theoretically end  
up with several dozen for each candidate - make it a complex  
operation that is easier done in a single space, rather than  
duplicated in each polling place.

I think this covers the main points (and is reasonably accurate).  
Anyone?

Andrew

On 26 DFómh 2005, at 18:06, Patrick Kobly wrote:

> Catherine Ansbro wrote:
>
>
>> I wish we could get some kind of hand counting done at the voting  
>> places.  I don't yet see any practical way of doing this.
>>
>
> Explain to me like I'm a little baby why this doesn't work.  Being  
> in Canada, where the paper ballots are counted in the voting  
> places, this comment is a bit surprising.  I understand the rules  
> and counting procedures are different.  Perhaps a pointer that  
> describes the process in detail would be useful.  I'm interested in  
> which aspects of the process limit the paralellizability of counting.
>
> PK
>
>
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--
Andrew Ó Baoill
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Inst. of Communications Research, U. of Illinois
Communications / Participatory media / Political action
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andrew at funferal.org / baoillo at uiuc.edu
aim: funferal at mac.com
+353-87-241-7003 / +1-(217) 384-3142
http://funferal.org / Galway, Ireland / Urbana, IL, USA





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