This is the situation:

I'm not a very active user of Programmers SE. I know very few of the candidates, and though I've checked their profiles, I would feel irresponsible choosing three in some order. I have only seen one in action, and that person is the only one I'm "sure" could do a good job.

So, will my vote be valid?

The election page states:

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

1 Answer 1



The iterative Meek's method of counting will use that vote, though if your candidate reaches "excluded" status (i.e. not going to be elected) then there is no one else to whom it can be transferred and it would not influence the election any more. If you had a second and third choice, you vote would then count towards those candidates and continue to influence who wins.

As proof that partial ballots make it into the file used to determine the outcome, here's a sample from the ballot data kept at Math's election page:

 1 2 4 3 0
 1 2 4 0 0
 1 2 3 4 0
 1 3 4 2 0
 1 2 0 0 0
 1 2 4 3 0
 1 1 2 3 0
 1 2 0 0 0
 1 2 1 3 0

Each row is a ballot. The leading 1 starts the ballot and the 0 ends the ballot. The numbers between are numbers representing the persons voted for in order of preference, 1st choice first. (The number to candidate mapping is listed at the end of the file.) Note the ballot entries that contain only first or first and second choices, i.e. the rows that end with more than one 0.

  • @Trufa: You're welcome! I just downloaded and looked at the Math SE site's data yesterday, trying to understand how the vote counting method worked, so I had it handy. :)
    – yhw42
    Feb 2, 2011 at 14:17

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