Council election voting: your chance to act

2009-01-23 20:56 UTC by Andrew Flegg

With only a few months to the next Community Council election, a plan is coming together on revising the voting system used; after much debate last time.

Current Process

The election process is defined currently as (roughly) "one-member, one-vote, 5 people with most votes gets elected". This is sub-optimal as people might not get the council they want as a whole if they vote for their most favoured candidate.

For the inaugral elections, the voting process generated a lot of heat and noise after the wheels were in motion.

The Council can put forward a new proposed voting system, but obviously since this affects how the next council is chosen, the community has to decide to ratify the proposal through a referendum.

Proposed Change: Single Transferable Vote

The target is for a voting mechanism which meets three critieria:

  1. Make it easy for people to vote
  2. Make the results of the election easily verifiable (ideally for a voter)
  3. Ensure the result well reflects the will of the electorate.

There are various approaches (such as RRV ) which may be mathematically optimal for the third requirement, but the (relatively) complex maths makes it fail on the first two.

So, the current favourite is a Single Tranferable Vote system. Quim Gil summarised this as:

"Preferential voting (or preference voting) is a type of ballot structure used in several electoral systems in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference."


In practice, instead of voting one best candidate (like last time) or choosing 5 candidates at the same level (like the GNOME Foundation does), each voter ranks the candidates by preference and maths do[es] the rest."

Out of any option, this meets all 3 requirements best of all (IMHO), even if it's sub-optimal in one or more categories.

So, for the referendum, I'm imagining there being the following options (language and wording to be decided):

  • A single transferrable vote. Bullets 4 and 5 ("Each community member gets one vote" and "The 5 nominees with the most votes are elected." ) will be changed to XXX (TBD, something like "Each community member ranks ranks one or more candidates in order of preference" and "Council members will be selected according to this single-transferrable vote system " )
  • None of these options is acceptable.

The Council would decide what to do in the event of the third option getting a majority of votes. My first thought is that the election would be held under the current rules and the next council would have to pick up the task.

What you should do now

If you have any opinions on the voting system used for the Maemo Community Council elections, please raise them on the maemo-community mailing list. This thread, for example, could be appropriate "Election process referendum" .