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For elections, the election phase page has a sidebar with the following wording (and the wording at issue is bolded):

In the election phase, 10 candidates advance to final community voting. Any community member with 150 reputation may vote in the election.

Each community member has 3 votes. Please cast your votes in order of preference, starting with the most desirable candidate first.

All candidates are displayed in random order.

Your votes are always private; only the aggregated tally will be made public.

When the election is complete, the ballot file will be freely downloadable from this page for the life of the site, and we will calculate the winners using OpenSTV with the Meek STV method.

The Meek STV voting method is relatively complex, especially for people who are unfamiliar with it. What is clear, though, is that it is misleading to combine the two concepts:

  • Single Transferable Vote
  • Each community member has 3 votes.

Should the sidebar be reworded, and if so, what to?

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Here's my attempt:

In the election phase, 10 candidates advance to final community voting. Candidates are displayed in random order.

Any community member with 150 reputation may vote in the election. Each voter may select up to three candidates. Please make your selections in order of preference, with the most desirable candidate as first choice.

We will calculate the winners using OpenSTV with the Meek STV method, which automatically weights users' votes in the way that does the most good for the candidates they have selected, in order of preference.

When the election is complete, the ballot file will be freely downloadable from this page for the life of the site. Individual users' voting choices are always private; only the aggregated tally will be made public.

Mostly, this just reorganizes the existing text to flow better (at least, to my ear). Of course it also updates the description of voting, which was the motivation for this question.

I'm reluctant to say "each community member has one vote" or anything similar because it opens the door to people mistakenly believing they can vote for only a single candidate. With apologies to those people who enjoy yelling "you should've read the post and all the links more closely" on the Internet, I'd like to avoid having that come up, if at all possible.

  • I don't like that wording too much. "Each voter may select up to three candidates" is also "wrong" because, even though a member may have 3 choices, commonly their vote is only used for one. – rolfl Jul 1 '15 at 15:42
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    I suppose that depends on your definition of "select"? I stand by my wording in this case. You're selecting three candidates who each may or may not receive some portion of your vote. Also, it's rare for a person's vote to be used entirely for a single candidate, because when a candidate wins, equal proportions of the votes of all people who voted for that candidate get removed, such that all of the voters' next choices receive the fractional remainders in the following round. – Pops Jul 1 '15 at 17:25
  • I see the new text in the Workplace and other elections. It is a significant improvement, and the links to the off-page resources are relatively clear on the process (in comparison to previous explanations). It's an improvement. Thanks. – rolfl Jul 21 '15 at 16:03
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I recommend that the paragraph which currently reads as:

Each community member has 3 votes. Please cast your votes in order of preference, starting with the most desirable candidate first.

should instead read as:

Each member has a single vote which is applied to their first choice candidate. If the first-choice candidate is elected without requiring the member's full vote, then the second choice candidate is given the remainder, and again to the third-choice candidate if there is still an unused fraction of the vote.

Similarly, because there is just one vote, the line:

Your votes are always private; only the aggregated tally will be made public.

should be made singular to:

Your vote is always private; only the aggregated tally will be made public.

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    This is accurate, but I fear the explanation of vote dividing might be a bit too technical/overwhelming for the sidebar. I've just posted an answer with my own attempt at it. – Pops Jul 1 '15 at 4:37

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