Preserve our fair elections


The Pacific Green Party has used Single Transferable Vote (STV) for many years to conduct multi-winner elections, such as for seats on the SCC. It is well established and widely used around the world because it approximates a proportional result. This ensures the representation of minority factions – such as most of the world’s Green parties – in governing bodies.

It is a form of Ranked Choice Voting. It works by setting a threshold for election based on the number of winners. Because there’s more than one winner, this threshold is never 50%, and is lower the more winners there are. For example, if there are 10 winners, the quota by the Droop method is 1/(10+1) = 9.09%. It’s slightly less than 10% because it’s not mathematically possible for 11 candidates to all do better than 9.09%, so whoever does is in the top 10.

This is the method PGP and most other Green parties use. OpaVote even lists the Green Party of California’s version among its choices. It is what we should use now. It has long precedent, it works, and it has a reputation for ensuring that everyone’s preferred choices are represented.


The alternatives being proposed are both contrary to the purpose of STV. The worst one proposes to screen all ballots before the STV count, and disqualify any candidate whose name doesn’t appear somewhere on at least half the ballots. This falsely interprets those ballots as being active votes against those unlisted candidates, instead of abstentions. And it inverts a proportional vote into a majoritarian vote, with the STV count conducted only among candidates who clear this 50% hurdle. A candidate with 45% of the 1st round votes could be eliminated this way, depriving nearly half the voters of representation in a multi-winner election.

This in itself is an embarrassment to the party. But even worse, it was “decided” by an SCC on February that had little to no idea what it was considering, and no authority to make such a decision. That’s because under our bylaws, convention rules – such as how votes are done – are decided by those present at convention. Only intervention by other party members a few days ago secured your right to vote on this.


The other proposed alternative is to name a candidate “no other candidate,” and proceed with a normal STV vote that way. But this is still simply not what proportional voting is about. It’s about who you are voting for, not who you are voting against. It’s for making sure everyone is represented. If you don’t happen to vote for someone, it’s understood they aren’t representing you. But they do represent whoever does vote for them, and it is wrong to deprive those voters of their voice. You may be against them – but an honest election pits your representatives against theirs, rather than depriving them of representation. While that’s a bit less likely than with the “majoritarian” method, it could still happen. Let’s respect each other’s rights to representation.

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