TL;DR: Do not set the question-only votes to zero when there are only five general-purpose votes left.
I second the request to simplify the behaviour, though not exactly as suggested by the OP. The current behaviour is unnecessarily confusing and annoying for those who vote a lot or just go on a voting spree. Also keep in mind that there is no simple way to acquire the number of votes you already have cast on a day.
For example, I once revisited new answers to favorite questions en masse and since they I already voted on most of those questions, I cast a lot of answer votes at first. Then I continued my normal behaviour, which involves more votes on questions than answers, but got to “5 votes left”, before having spent sufficiently many question votes. Naturally, this was not a pleasant experience – and I already knew what was coming. A user who does not know about the pecularities of the voting limits, is likely very confused and disappointed about missing Vox Populi.
While this may be an extreme example, casting 25 answer votes and 9 question votes already suffices to lose one question vote and I would not necessarily consider this an unbalanced voting behaviour on many sites.
I quote Waffles on the explanation of the current behaviour:
- Everyone gets a total of 30 votes.
- You may get up to 10 extra question votes.
- Warnings remain simple... (5 votes remaining, 4 votes remaining...)
- Question votes may be cast at any time during the day. However, once you reach the N votes remaining warnings, stuff is set in stone. A question voting spree at the end will still count down.
So, according to my understanding, the only reason for the current confusing behaviour is to avoid potentially confusing warnings. I think the lesser evil is to skip the fourth point and have a more complex warning shown – but only to those, who really need it and would probably be confused anyway. More precisely:
- Everybody gets 30 general-purpose votes and 10 question-only votes.
- Question-only votes are used up first, if applicable.
If only 5 general-purpose votes remain and all question-only votes are used up, show the warning as it is now:
5 votes remaining.
Only, if there are remaining question-only votes at that point, show a more complex warning:
5 votes remaining, 3 additional question-only votes.
Thus we do not get the very old behaviour, that allowed the last ten votes to be on questions only and balanced voting is still easily possible, but not as enforced anymore for those who want to cast all 40 votes. In particular we avoid confusing and annoying people at the only cost of showing a more complicated warning to exactly those people.