I wanted to share the results of the Dessert Party RCV election in which you all took part Saturday. Thanks for giving it a whirl.
First, I’ll share the final winners:
- Pecan is the Pie Winner with 25 votes!
- Carrot is the Cake Winner with 25 votes!
- Vanilla is the Ice Cream Winner with 30 votes!
- Ginger is the Cookie Winner with 25 votes!
Let’s start out with figuring out what our 50% + 1 number is. That would be the number of votes our consensus candidate would need to get in order to have a true majority of voters supporting them. We had 47 ballots cast. The 50% + 1 number would be 25 (exact 50% is 23.5 or 24 rounded up, plus one is 25). So, the winning candidate has to get a minimum of 25 votes.
We did have one ballot where voters chose not to rank any candidates in the election. This is permissible and also legal within the new municipal pilot project bill. You will never be forced to rank your ballot. Perhaps this voter really hated the other options and wouldn’t like them no matter what, which is a choice. What I would submit for their consideration is that if they could have made do with the other options, they threw away their future possible voice in seeing those options move forward by only voting for one candidate, if their first choice was eliminated early on.
After the first tally of first choice votes, the results were as follows (remember you always start with just counting everyone’s first choice because if a candidate gets 50% +1, you don’t have to worry about the other ranked votes, you already have your true majority winner; looking at voters 2nd and 3rdrankings, etc., only counts in subsequent tallies if you don’t have someone come out in the first tally with 50% +1):
- Pecan – 21
- Blueberry – 5
- Apple – 9
- Pumpkin – 12
- Sponge – 4
- Carrot – 22
- Chocolate – 21
As I tallied the votes for pie and then for cake, I separated the first choice ballots in each of the optional categories. That way I would know for which candidate (lowest number of votes) we would then need to apportion those 2nd votes accordingly. The tallying seems like a lot since I was doing this “old school” and sorting/tallying by hand, but there are a number of tallying software options that can be used for RCV elections like these, and certainly mechanisms for upgrading current elections equipment tallying equipment to tabulate electronically. It’s also sometime harder to get to a majority plus one because of the fewer ballots in a mock election.
Remember, this is easy for the voter because you only have to vote once (see how great this will be for delegates at our party conventions, no more having to stick around for subsequent rounds of voting)! The tabulators have a bit of work ahead of them.
So, since blueberry was the lowest vote count recipient after the 1st tally (five votes), its 1st choice voters now have their 2ndchoice votes apportioned to the remaining candidates. (See! Even though you blueberry lovers voted for the lowest vote-getter, your vote still counts, and it will keep counting as long as you ranked all of the choices.) Three of those 2nd choice votes went apple, one to pecan, and one to pumpkin. Our tally is now as follows:
- Pecan – 22
- Apple – 12
- Pumpkin – 13
After reapportioning the apple ballots, since it’s now the lowest vote recipient (including those who had originally voted blueberry and ranked apple 2nd — in this upcoming tally I counted their third-ranked choice) the tally was as follows:
Pecan is the WINNER
With the cake candidates our first choice tally was:
- Sponge – 4
- Carrot – 22
- Chocolate – 21
After reapportioning the 2nd choice sponge cake voters (two went to carrot, two went to chocolate), the final tally was:
- Carrot – 25
- Chocolate – 22
Carrot was the WINNER
Further tabulations are usually in order when you’re looking at a large number of ballots cast.
For the ice cream and cookie elections, we only have two candidates so you don’t use RCV to tabulate because a candidate always prevails with a true majority. We also had two spoiled ballots in the ice cream race because two voters didn’t cast a ballot in these elections (45 valid ballots) so the final tally here is:
- Vanilla – 30
- Strawberry – 15
Vanilla is the WINNER
For the cookie election, we had one spoiled ballot where someone chose not to vote in this race, so we had 46 ballots in play.
- Peanut Butter – 21
- Ginger – 25
Ginger is the WINNER
I hope this election was fun and informative. If you enjoyed this process and would like to see your municipal elections implemented this way, please contact your city officials and encourage them to use RCV!