Making the most of your vote
What is STV?
Single Transferable Vote (or 'STV') is a voting
system used by a number of different organisations including the
Church of England.
STV is a form of proportional representation that can
be used in cases where a number of candidates are to be elected in
a particular area and allows voters to rank candidates in order of
Candidates don't need a majority of votes to be
elected, just a known share (the 'quota') of the votes, which is
determined by the size of the electorate and the number of
positions to be filled.
What's the benefit of STV?
As with the more traditional 'First Past the Post'
system (or 'FPP'), you get one vote. But unlike FPP, STV
provides a mechanism that means that your vote is not wasted if
your preferred candidate isn't elected.
How does STV work?
Under STV, you are asked to rank candidates in order
To do this, you give each candidate a numerical
ranking (starting at '1' for your first preference, '2' for your
second preference and continuing until there are no more candidates
or until you can no longer express a meaningful order of
You get one vote, but it can be transferred from your
first preference to your second preference (and so on), so that if
your preferred candidate has no chance of being elected or has
enough votes already (because they have reached the 'quota'), your
vote is transferred to the next candidate in order of your list of
In this way, STV ensures that very few votes are
'wasted', unlike in other systems, especially FPP, where only a
small number of votes actually contribute to the result.
How do I make the best of my Single
To make the best of your Single Transferable Vote,
you really need to rank as many of the candidates as you can in
order of preference. The more candidates you can rank, the more
chance you have of being represented as you want to be.
Remember, STV is a system of voting that is used in
cases where a number of candidates are to be elected in a
particular area. So, if, for example, your diocese can elect 4
representatives, you should at the very least rank 4 candidates in
order of preference. But if there are 7 candidates in all (from
whom 4 are to be elected), you'd be better advised to rank all
Your vote is not worth more if you only vote for one
candidate, so you have nothing to lose - and everything to gain -
by spreading your options! If you only vote for one candidate and
he or she doesn't attract sufficient support from others to be
elected, your vote cannot be transferred and you have, in effect,
wasted your vote.
So, vote for as many candidates as you