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How 'close' can ♦ moderator elections on Stack Exchange get? Has there been an election where a single vote would have made the difference? The Spring 2018 election on Stack Overflow was quite close, percentage-wise; the final difference between the remaining candidates was 17 votes (only 0.05% of the number of ballots). One of the most recent pro-tempore elections, on Drones Stack Exchange looks to have been decided by 1.6 vote (a fractional number; this is a property of the STV system).

Inspired by I appealed against a suspension, but the appeal is still pending. Am I going to miss the election?

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  • A good case could have been made in 2018 to appoint 4 mods instead of 3. Jul 18 '20 at 9:38
  • I don't know if in any mod election "exhausted" got more votes then an elected person. Jul 18 '20 at 9:39
  • 3
    It's probably on a smaller site. With less votes, you probably also get smaller absolute margins.
    – Trilarion
    Jul 20 '20 at 9:07
  • 3
    Another close one. Victory in the last round was decided by less than 4 votes out of a total of 798 votes cast (0.005%). And here, a difference of 5 votes in the last round out of a total of 511 votes cast (0.01%). Jul 20 '20 at 19:26
  • 3
    The 2020 election on Math SE is also worth mentioning, which was decided by a margin of 13 votes out of 2368 total votes (0.5%). @Rand 4/798 is around 0.005, which is 0.5% and not 0.005%.
    – Toby Mak
    Aug 5 '20 at 8:16
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It appears that today's results from the Code Review election resulted in 224.05 "votes" for Mast and 224.32 "votes" for Peilonrayz, so a difference of 0.27 out of 767 total ballots:

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This is even closer than the other answer by Rand al'Thor since the difference in voting percentage was less than 0.1%, versus 0.2% in that case!

However, that election on Biblical Hermeneutics was closer in a different sense, since there were 3 candidates almost neck-and-neck with each other in the final rounds, for the last 2 positions, whereas in Code Review there were only 2 candidates neck-and-neck with each other in the last round, competing for one position.

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  • 2
    Higher precision percentages between the two answers for anyone interested. (Steve Taylor - Tony Chan) / total_votes = (26.939782 - 26.708812) / 110 = 0.23097 / 110 = 0.21% and (Peilonrayz - Mast) / total votes = (244.321312 - 244.053816) / 767 = 0.267496 / 767 = 0.0348%
    – Peilonrayz
    Apr 28 at 11:57
  • 2
    Side note: In the aftermath of this election, Mast was added as a 5th mod to Code Review, as mentioned in this Code Review Meta post: codereview.meta.stackexchange.com/q/10677/31562 May 2 at 0:09
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In the absence of any mention of any other election even remotely as close as this, I'm going to propose that the likely answer is the 2020 Biblical Hermeneutics moderator election, which finished today (27 October 2020). It was a three-slot graduation election, with just four candidates. In the final round of vote counting, the difference between the 3rd and 4th candidates was just 0.2 votes, with the losing candidate just 0.15 votes below the threshold. There were a total of 110 users voting, making this difference 0.2% of the overall electorate.

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This week we had two very close elections, and unlike the case of the April 2021 Code Review election in which the race was close between 3 users competing for 2 positions (and eventually it was decided that all three of them would become a ♦mod), both of these recent July 2021 elections were close between 4 users competing for 3 positions, and the 4th place candidate was within 2% of the 1st place candidate in both instances!

The Great Outdoors, July 2021

The Great Outdoors, election results 2021. See here for original source: https://www.opavote.com/results/5438312878702592

Islam, July 2021

Islam election results, original source: https://www.opavote.com/results/5677149970235392

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  • 1
    Your two elections have far higher margins than the 2020 Biblical Hermeneutics moderator election.
    – Peilonrayz
    Jul 14 at 22:40

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