No….I am not talking about the broadcasting station when I say STV.
I am talking about the Single Transferable Vote system used in the Scottish Council elections.

When voting, you vote in order of Preference according to the candidates. and 6th choices.

Many folk will feel that they have to approach this like an opinion poll when asked to give your order of preferences from 1-6. This is not the case.
You have no necessity to use all 6 preferences.

Take for example an SNP supporter faced with a selection of candidates as an example. With two or three SNP candidates on their ballot paper.
They could use all 6 preferences if they so wished, but they may decide to vote SNP 123 and not bother with any further preferences.
Or they could vote SNP 123 and possibly use votes 4 and 5 for other Independence minded parties such as the Greens or SSP if they have candidates standing.

For my own choices in my area ….I will vote SNP 12 and 3 if available, but if only two SNP members are standing, I will simply vote SNP 1 and 2 and leave it at that. I am not aware of any Green candidate thus far in my area, but if there are, then they will be my next choice.
What I will not do is use any of my preferences for Unionist supporting parties.

It has been interesting to note that the SNP have kept their canvassing purely on local issues, without reference to the significance of the upcoming Independence referendum in 2014, while the Unionist parties have barely stopped focussing on the Independence issue.

The SNP are quite right to keep it on local issues only, that is what these elections are supposed to be about, not Independence.
But the Unionist parties are right to see that these Council elections could be much more significant for the future of the country than any other council election has ever been.
The fact of the matter is, the more councils that the SNP can run, the easier it becomes to coordinate with SNP government policy in Holyrood.
We have seen many times in the recent past, Labour controlled councils in particular, taking actions which have weakened the last Scottish Governments policy application in their areas, such as the deployment of teachers and reduction of class sizes. They have diverted monies into other areas, which in turn has effected the governments figures for implementing policy successfully, and then allowed Labour in Holyrood to criticise the SNP for not meeting their targets!

Given how Council control can have either a positive or negative effect depending on who runs it, we need to see as many as possible in SNP hands on Friday.

Consider also the fact that the press and media have all barely commented on the Council elections, and when they have they have mostly downplayed them, and many have been suggesting that the people are not enthused and are touting a turn out of barely 20% in some areas.
Don’t be fooled into apathy by this.
It suits the Unionists to keep the turn out low, and to make a stir about other issues…Why? Because a low turnout means they hope there will be little between them and the SNP …..Get out there and VOTE!!!

So please make sure you use your vote wisely tomorrow, and make sure you vote if you are a Nationalist.
SNP 123…..and any other Independence supporting parties thereafter.

About auldacquaintance

I am not a member of any political party. I am however a strong supporter of Scots Independence. Any views which I express in this Blog are purely my own. This Blog intends to be a place where I will be putting my views on Scots Independence. It will primarily concern itself with the upcoming Referendum In Scotland. However It will also be somewhat diverse in the range of day to day issues which are evident to me in modern day Scotland. Not all of it will be political, and indeed may take me off into avenues I am not even aware of yet. Please come and join in on this journey, and any comments are welcome provided they are not abusive! All the best from a new acquaintance! Rod
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19 Responses to STV

  1. But surely if say you are in a 4 member ward, with only 2 SNP candidates you’d want to have your say on whatever other parties will win seats in the ward? You’re throwing away votes, essentially, making your vote count for less by not using all your preferencies. I’ll be voting Labour in my ward – as my 6th preference. 😉

    This means they are less likely to win in the ward, somewhat counter-intuitively!

    • If you are in a four member ward with only two SNP candidates, might it not be best to either vote SNP 1 and 2 , with no other votes to boost others preference votes….Or to vote SNP 1 and 2 with the rest of your preferences used up with Independence parties or individuals until they are used up…and if that doesn’t make it to six preferences be it.

  2. Here’s the make up of the ward from the excellent – quoting verbatim:

    “Leith Walk (4 seats)
    2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / Grn
    Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / Liberal / SNP(x2) / TUSC

    A slightly Labour-leaning ward last time, although again very closely contested. This northern part of central Edinburgh has been particularly badly affected by the tramworks with one of the independents Alex Wilson standing on a largely anti-tram platform.

    Labour and the SNP should both win at least one seat a piece. The Green should also be fairly secure after the expected Lib Dem fall-back, leaving the final seat as a Labour-SNP-Lib Dem marginal. In this part of the city, Labour are probably still the favourites to make that gain.”

    Now, what’s the best way to stop Labour from getting a seat, far less two? Well if I vote SNP/SNP/Green then follow with Conservative (no chance of winning, but I doubt a Tory voter would put Labour as second or third preference – in fact, they’re likely to split between Lib Dem and SNP as happened during the 2011 Election), then follow with with Lib Dem then finally Labour, since all votes are (sort of!) weighted equally, I’m more likely to to make the 4th seat non-Labour!

    I read a great post on a blog a week or so, I’ll try and find the link – it explains how you can manipulate the system by second guessing other folk’s preferences. It’s tricky do do that with independent candidates who might be campaigning on a single-issue.

    I must say, I am enjoying your blog, which I discovered only recently.

    • Thanks John.
      I am no statistician or mathematician, but looking at that scenario…I would be inclined to vote SNP 1 and 2, Green 3 …and either one of the Independents 4, depending on their general stance outwith any single issue they might be campaigning on.
      With it being a seat Labour are strongly contesting, as a Nationalist, I would not give them any preference to possibly pick up on.

      • I don’t mean to sound cruel to Labour voters in my ward, but I’ve got an inkling half of them will put a bloody cross on the ballot thus have their papers voided!

        I’m still trying to decide which order to put the bottom 3 in – as one will surely get elected so I’d like to decide who it is – but 2nd preference votes that go to the SNP or Greens (I think tory voters will have SNP as 2nd preference, and Lib Dem voters Green) means I can’t really vote for independent candidates (unless when I get to the polls and find some literature from an independent candidate advising people to vote SNP as 2nd preference..)

        Apart from the SNP, I have had no literature whatsoever from any other candidates/parties, which is a bloody shocking as I’m in a hotly contested ward. If the SNP had fielded 3 candidates instead of just two, it’d have made voting tomorrow a tad simpler!

        Every ward is different though, so tactics have to be different. It’s hard to tell when the candidates can’t be ersed dropping a leaflet in though.


      • Morag says:

        As far as I know, a single cross doesn’t void a ballot paper, it is regarded as a vote for that candidate alone. Just as if a number 1 against that candidate was the only mark on the ballot.

        I asked our sitting councillor, who is standing again and is the only SNP candidate in a three-member ward, whether the local SNP branch had any opinion about what to do with the rest of our votes. The answer I got was “Just tell people to put a 1 beside me, and nothing else.”

        This wasn’t actually my question. If any voter had asked me, that is exactly what I’d have told them. The SNP can’t be seen to endorse any other candidate, even as a second or third choice vote. I was actually asking as regards my own vote. Whether there was anyone we’d rather work with than one of the others, if push came to shove. So, no answer, so I’ll just do a single SNP vote. I expect we’ll get one SNP, one Tory and one LibDem anyway.

        The LibDems are standing two candidates. I wonder how that will work out for them?

      • Morag says:

        Oh yes, and as for that last bit. Candidates “can’t be arsed” to drop a leaflet through your door.

        Have you any idea how much work it is to get leaflets through everyone’s door? I imagine it’s a bit easier in the cities, but round here you can spend hours hoofing it round far-flung settlements and isolated houses. No, make that days. A single person can’t do it. We had six or seven volunteers for the ward, but still had to post about 500 leaflets. Labels typed by yours truly from the electoral register, with a mental weighing-up of the length and pothole-count of each farm track as I did the job. Envelopes stuffed by an elderly volunteer with a knee injury that stopped him going round the doors.

        OK, we did it. But for those who didn’t, it’s not a case of can’t be bothered. It’s a case of can’t scare up enough willing helpers to get the job done. If it’s your preferred party you perceive as being “can’t be arsed”, think again, think about the harassed organiser with too few pairs of feet, and bloody well volunteer.

        Or you could judge a party’s credibility by the amount of willing help it can attract, I suppose.

  3. Hello Morag, you could use other preferences to block the Lib Dems! Remember, by only using one vote you are essentially throwing 5 away.


    • Morag says:

      Yes, but who would we get instead? I don’t know whether the local party would rather deal with a LibDem as opposed to a Tory or a Labour. That was why I asked the question.

    • Morag says:

      Hmm. I wonder if there’s any percentage in boosting the second-string LibDem against their main runner? Considering the identity of their main runner, it’s a tempting thought.

      • Hi Morag, I am just surprised that only the SNP got folk out to leaflet (in my ward, just verified a friend has had no literature at all and he lives on Leith Walk… no leaflets from any of the other parties in either of our stairwells).

        I meant by my “can’t be ersed” comment that it shows how Labour and Lib Dems appear to have thrown the towel in before votes have been cast. I’m not talking about small parties like the Greens or individuals. The big parties have cash (or overdrafts!) to spend.

        I wonder what the situation in crucial battle-grounds such as Glasgow in particular is?

        I can only speak for the ward I’m in, where I’m pretty sure the SNP will win both seats and the Greens will retain theirs. It’s very tricky deciding who best to vote for for the 4th seat though…


      • That’s tactics for you! If you think it’d damage the incumbent(?)/main runner I’d go for it!


      • Morag says:

        I don’t know. It would have been handy to have some wonk work it out and tell us. Except, it’s probably not worth it for only a small number of activist votes. And if it got out that the SNP was endorsing a vote for another party or individual, we’d never hear the end of it.

    • Morag says:

      As regards who got leaflets out, for a while I had nothing but a personal call from the Tory candidate, who looked about 14. He gets brownie points for that but nothing else. I almost felt sorry for his crestfallen little face when I laughed and said, “no, I really don’t think so.”

      Then I got a personalised (and very official-looking) envelope addressed to my mother, containing a LibDem leaflet and personalised letter. My mother died last August. I was very upset to get the letter, especially knowing that the electoral register I had been working from was dated December 2011. I know this can’t be avoided entirely (although I personally burrowed through our personally-addressed letters to remove one for a lady I knew had died only ten days before they were sent out), but to use such an old register was really thoughtless. You expect these things in the early stages, but I’ve had nothing but Damart catalogues for months, so the leaflet was upsetting.

      More recently I’ve had two more LibDem leaflets (only hours apart, which was odd), and a Tory one, and one from the “Borders Party” who seem to be Tories in disguise. I now have an A3 SNP poster in my front window, in day-glo yellow, so I doubt anyone else will bother me.

      • Morag says:

        Hah! I just went to lock up, and found, sticking in my letterbox – a Labour leaflet!

        But all was not as it seemed. The leaflet was wrapped round another one, a flyer advertising a local company selling custom-made window blinds. This was not a Labour activist on the hoof, this was a paid agency delivering stuff for a fee. Which explains why I got the Labour leaflet, despite the prominent SNP poster in the front window.

        Oh dear.

      • That makes a lot of sense…labours policies haven’t seen the light of day for years, and they have a Blind hatred for everything nationalist.

      • Morag says:

        Actually the leaflet was quite a good one, but the candate revealed what she thought of her chances by explicitly soliciting voters’ second-preference votes. Since I don’t know whether our guys would rather work with her than a LibDem or Tory, I left it. I think we’ll get the Tory, the first-string LibDem and the SNP candidates, not necessarily in that order.

        I think a lot of people don’t understand that even if their first-choice candidate gets in, their second choice can also have some influence – because once the threshhold is reached, “extra” votes from the winning candidate are dispersed to the second-choice candidates. People think its like AV, but it’s not.

  4. Morag “I think a lot of people don’t understand that even if their first-choice candidate gets in, their second choice can also have some influence – because once the threshhold is reached, “extra” votes from the winning candidate are dispersed to the second-choice candidates. People think its like AV, but it’s not.”

    You’ve very succinctly hit the nail on the head. I do wish your sentence could be put in big writing in every polling station!

    I didn’t realise back in 2007 that this was the case, though I do now. The current system in no way gets rid of tactical voting; in fact it encourages it. That’s one of the reasons why I’ll not be putting the incumbent Labour candidate down as my 6th vote – I’ll select the other one. Or mibbe no’.

    I do hope the move to an open list system with open primaries where we select the candidates not the parties.

    • Morag says:

      Well, LibDem first string actually won. Family connections count. Our candidate got in too, with an increased share of the vote, as did the infant Tory. As expected. We might as well not have bothered campaigning. And actually I think none of our candidates votes was redistributed after all, so he was right – no point marking any further choices.

      I don’t fancy letting the voters rank list candidates. Either they will have no clue who’s who, or else – well if you got the chance to rank the Labour candidates, would you put the best guy first, or the biggest numpty? It’s a hard decision….

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