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FAQ: Counting Ballots
For more information about the BCSTV counting system,
watch the Assembly's animated presentation,
read the counting fact
sheet or take a look at the Technical Report.
What happens to ballots after the polls
close?
Elections BC – the nonpartisan organization responsible for ballot counting – will manage the counting of ballots, as they always have. After the polls close, the minimum number of votes needed to win
a seat is determined for each district; this depends, for a start,
on how many ballots were cast. Then the voters’
firstchoice preferences are counted.
If a candidate reaches the required threshold, she is declared
elected. If she has more first choices than necessary to be
elected, her “surplus” ballots are
redistributed, based on those voters’ second
preferences. To be fair though, all the voters who helped
that candidate win will have their second preferences redistributed
at a discounted value (rather than just pulling the surplus votes
out of a barrel).
If the seats are not all filled after that, then the candidate
with the fewest votes is eliminated and his votes are
transferred to the remaining candidates according to the
voters’ preferences indicated on those ballots. This
process is repeated until all available MLA seats in the
constituency are filled.
How are voter preferences transferred during the
counting process?
The counting process ensures that almost every ballot goes to elect a candidate of the voter’s choice. The voter’s first preference is the most important; other preferences will only be used to support another candidate if the voter’s first choice has no chance of getting elected or has more than enough support to get elected. For more information about the transfer process, follow the links at the top of this page.
With all these choices on the ballot, do voters need to
be strategic?
The number of preferences a voter shows on the ballot does not negatively affect any candidates. Preferences shown only assist those candidates for whom that voter's support was counted.
Which counting process will BCSTV use?
The weighted inclusive Gregory method.
How many votes does a candidate need to be
elected?
The minimum number of votes needed to be elected varies from riding to riding. This number is dependant on the total number of seats available in a constituency and the total number of valid votes cast. The formula for determining this number is known as the Droop Quota.
Are the winning candidates those who end up with the
lowest score?
BCSTV is not a system where numbers are added to determine the winners, but is instead a system where preferences are allocated. A voter assigns 1, 2, 3, etc. to the candidates on the ballot to indicate his or her preferences. It's the voter’s first choice that is most important, but if this candidate has no chance of getting elected or has more than enough support to get elected, other preferences may be used to support a next preferred candidate.
Will BCSTV be counted with a computer?
The Assembly has designed BCSTV so the count can be done by hand, if preferred. However, counting the results could be also be done via computer voting or machinereadable, paper ballots.
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