STV Voting

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has modified the single transferable voting system it uses to elect the board of directors in order to fix complications from last year’s elections.

The single transferable voting system was first implemented for last year’s elections.

The system tries to use as much information that students give while voting as possible. Last year a candidate was only required to have 6.25 per cent plus of first place votes to be elected. After reaching this threshold, the votes for that candidate were redistributed among the other candidates based on the voters’ subsequent choices.

However the system did not have an option to drop the candidate who received the fewest first place votes and redistribute those votes accordingly. Because of this, the system ended up taking 33 rounds of redistribution and the full results of the elections were not available until the day after the board of directors was chosen.

This problem prompted the Union to make changes to the system for this year’s elections.

“We’re just going to make the system a little more easier for students to understand, I feel,” said Matt McLean, , chair of the board and chief governance officer at the Students’ Union.

This year, rather than changing the quota required to be elected, if at the end of a round there is no candidate with enough votes to be elected, the candidate with the fewest votes gets removed from the ballot and those votes are redistributed.

This voting system is used for both the board of directors and Senate

“I did tests with the [new] system with last year’s results and it turns out the results would’ve been the exact same, but would have taken four rounds to achieve the same results as opposed to 33,” McLean explained.

With eight acclaimed board members this year, there will be eight people running for the remaining four positions, which will require the system to work efficiently election night.

Last year’s voter turnout was 25 per cent, which is high amongst universities in the same industry according to McLean. At least 10 per cent of the student body must vote in order for the election to count.

“We don’t foresee any problems in reaching that number, but we’d certainly like to see an improvement from last year,” said McLean.



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