This hardly makes or breaks an election, but the vote count total for the Stack Overflow election appears to be off. On the election page, it says (emphasis mine):

72,908 voters were eligible, 45,177 visited the site during the election, 17,866 visited the election page, and 5,004 voted

But the election ballot file only contains 4,994 ballots: OpenSTV only reads 4,994 ballots, and there are only 4,994 ballot lines.

Why is this?

Apparently this was silently fixed. Yay! Would still like to understand what happened, though.

  • A guess: the ballot data contains no votes that didn't specify a first choice, so perhaps users who had a second or third choice but no first had their votes ignored. I think such a ballot could strictly be considered invalid, even if it might reasonably be interpreted by moving their second/third choices up.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 8:15
  • 2
    @Cleanupcareer-development We were just talking about that in Programmers chat, and found those are counted: of the people who used all three votes, Anna only got 756 first-choice votes; but if you count the people who only used one or two votes, her first choice total goes up to 771, which is what OpenSTV reports in Round 1.
    – user149432
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 8:17
  • 1
    Another guess: 10 voters went awol at some point. Deleted / merged accounts, temp suspensions.
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 17:09
  • 3
    The election page apparently changed its mind.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:45
  • 3
    "Why was there a 10 vote discrepancy in the last Stack Overflow election?" One for each of my sock puppets.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


The 10 missing votes were in fact from users who were deleted. I'll make sure this is handled correctly for future elections so that the election download is always correct as of the time the election is completed.

  • 4
    I'll make sure we cover up carefully before we let people see the results. </joke>
    – mmx
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 22:43
  • 2
    The Bilderberg Group approves.
    – user149432
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 22:49
  • 1
    Even Stack Overflow accepts votes from the dead?! o_O Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 22:51
  • Given that June 2012 SO election was 10 votes off, and July 2012 SU election 1 vote, in what way was this issue fixed? Please explain. Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 20:22

Would still like to understand what happened, though.

They fixed the election. The conspiracy is bigger than you realize. You need to meet me at th—


  • 7
    I wish I could upvote this more than once. Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 20:57
  • 4
    I can hear the black helicopters whisking Juan away. I mean, I could hear them if they weren't in stealth mode.
    – user149432
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 21:03

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