# [Informational] The Way Voting Works

This is not really a question, but an informational message. Stack Exchange (SE) uses a method of election called Single Transferable Votes (STV). AFAIK, this mechanism is recently incorporated into SE, and therefore it might be alien to some users.

Here is a very simple description of the method, taken from Wikipedia. It is rather short, and I encourage everyone (who is not familiar with STV) to take a look at it:

Suppose a food election is conducted to determine what to serve at a party. There are 5 candidates, 3 of which will be chosen. The candidates are: Oranges, Pears, Chocolate, Strawberries, and Sweets. The 20 guests at the party have their ballots marked according to the table below. In this example, a second choice is needed by only some of the voters, however with a different vote distribution additional preferences may be needed.

First, the quota is calculated. Using the Droop quota, with 20 voters and 3 winners to be found, the number of votes required to be elected is:

$\left({\mbox{20 votes cast} \over {\mbox{3 seats to fill}+1}}\right) +1 = \mbox{6 votes required}$

When ballots are counted the election proceeds as follows:

Result: The winners are Chocolate, Oranges and Strawberries.

Last note: The counting method for SE elections is a bit different, in that it changes the quota continuously at each round. Please see Meek's method for more info.

• ok this is great but what exactly is the value of cutting and pasting wikipedia here? Jan 29, 2011 at 7:53
• For those who want to read in context: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote#An_example Jan 29, 2011 at 8:42
• @Jeff: Good call ;) I just felt if I copy-paste it here, the chance of people reading it increases. Sorry if I made any trouble. Jan 29, 2011 at 10:49
• I don't mind. I just read it here too. Jan 30, 2011 at 3:39