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Preference Voting and RON


The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a preference voting system designed to minimize "wasted" votes and provide proportional representation.

In short, rather than choosing one candidate when you cast your votes you get to rank your favourites in order. An example is the best way to show it...

Where shall we go for dinner?

Imagine you were going for dinner with friends and you could either go to Nando's, Las Iguanas, Five Guys, or the new vegan cafe in town.

You probably have a favourite option. The one you'd vote for. But if no-one else wants to go there one you probably have a second preference, right? And there might even be one that if it came to it you just wouldn't go there?

It's exacly the same idea in STV:

  1. Put the candidates you like in order of preference
  2. If you get to the point where you'd prefer to have *none* of the remaining candidates you choose RON*
  3. If you get the the point where you don't care between the remaining candidates you can just leave them

It's no different to saying, "I'd prefer Five Guys, or Nando's if not, but I don't really fancy the vegan place."

So, what is RON?

RON stands for Re-open Nominations, it means you'd rather have a fresh set of candidates to choose from than have any of the remaining candidates.

You can still rank further candidates after RON, going back to our example this is fine:

  1. Five Guys
  2. Nandos
  3. RON
  4. Las Iguanas
  5. New Vegan Cafe**

You're saying that you want to go to Five Guys or Nandos, but if not those two you'd rather go somewhere else entirely. But! If the group is going to insist on one of Las Iguanas or the Vegan Cafe you'd prefer Las Iguanas.

Do I have to choose RON?

No! you can just order the ones you care about and leave the rest, you only need to use RON if you really think a different set of candidates would be better than the ones on offer.

Hey! I'm vegan!

Cool! Funnily enough so am I :) Food and drink tend to be the easiest example to pick for this sort of thing. (We can just imagine that the example ballot is the other way around!)

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