Single transferable vote

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The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system based on proportional representation and preferential voting. Under STV votes are initially allocated to an elector's most preferred candidate and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or unused votes are transferred according to the voters' stated preferences. The system minimizes "wasted" votes, provides proportional representation, and ensures that votes are explicitly cast for individual candidates rather than party lists. It achieves this by using multi-seat constituencies (voting districts) and by transferring votes to other eligible candidates that would otherwise be wasted on sure losers or winners.

STV is known as the Hare-Clark system in Australia, where it is used in lower house elections in two states/territories: Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. The name is derived from Thomas Hare, who initially developed the system and the Tasmanian Attorney General, Andrew Inglis Clark, who worked to have a modified version introduced. Hare-Clark has been subsequently modified to allow for improvements, such as rotating ballot papers (the Robson Rotation). STV is the system of choice of groups such as the Proportional Representation Society of Australia and the Electoral Reform Society in the United Kingdom. Its critics contend that some specialists and voters find the mechanisms behind STV difficult to understand,[1] but this does not make it more difficult for voters to 'rank the list of candidates in order of preference' in an STV ballot paper (see 'Voting' below).


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