OSMF Stat blast 1

rweait's picture

Let's look at how Single Transferrable Vote works in practice. What do the numbers from the recent OSMF AGM votes say?

Voter engagement

How many eligible voters participated in the vote?

About as many Members and Associate Members participated, or about one hundred of each group. Only Members were permitted to vote on the Special Resolutions (SR1 - SR3). The Special Resolutions required 75% agreement to carry, and they did so.

Empty ballots

There were single empty ballots in three of the five voted measures (Board, SR1 , and SR2). I don't know what happened there. It is possible that the three empty ballots were from as many as three different voters, or from a single voter. The links for the Special Resolutions, and for the Board election were sent in separate emails.

It may be that some voters left various voting measures empty where they chose not to express an opinion.

Turn out?

Turn out, or the percentage of eligible voters who choose to participate is potentially an intersting statistic. Currently, membership details are closely held and so I will not publish them without permission from the Board. A membership summary1 is generally posted after board meetings, or quarterly?

More transparency, please?

I hope that the board will provide a clearer window into the membership of the OpenStreetMap Foundation while protecting individual member privacy to a suitable degree.

As a first step, I would expect that some aggregated statistics from the membership should be available via an automated mechanism. I mean, as a project we publish geo-data. Surely publishing a membership count is not an insurmountable technical hurdle?

I offer to participate in the discussion with interested parties and the board, and to help where I am able.

Candidate mentions

I'm calling a voter ballot with the name of a particular candidate on it, without consideration of candidate rank, a mention.

I guess that this is one place where STV displays a difference from first past the post voting. The graph above shows candidates Ramm, Danielson and Barth were the three most-often mentioned.

It's an interesting difference, for me as this is my first brush with STV voting. I recommend against presuming that a first past the post vote would have had a different result. We have no data to support that.

I wonder how the recent municipal election in Toronto might have differed if STV were used? Perhaps I'll run a simulation on that in future.

Voter understanding

Voters appear to have understood the STV process.

On the 220 ballots, 145 mentioned more than three candidates. Seventy-five ballots mentioned three candidates or fewer, including one empty ballot. This suggests that most voters understood that they could mention and rank on on their ballot, more candidates than the available seats.

Most listed all eight candidates

The mode, 79 voters, mentioned all eight candidates in their ballots. Nicely done. That suggests a high level of engagement by voters and research into the platforms of the candidates.

Given the many dozens of candidates in the recent municipal election in Toronto, I'm not sure how many I would have fully researched were we to use STV here.

Some chose three or fewer candidates

I don't have any data to suggest whether the 56 voters who listed exactly three candidates, understood that they could list more candidates, or they chose to list only three candidates.

More outreach on STV?

There is no clear need for more outreach in future about the STV process since offering three or fewer candidates on a ballot is a legitimate vote. Do you agree?

So, maybe that's a good place to ask you, Did you understand the STV process? Did you understand that STV allowed you to rank more candidates than seats before the vote? Did you only learn that by looking at the on-line voting service? Or are you just learning that now? Snd me mail if you like, or join in on the comments below.

More data blasts?

And that's it for now. I want to get this out there for you to enjoy(?). I have plans for at least one more in this series, and I hope that the Board will grant me permission to post the anonymized ballot data, so that you can run simulations of your own.

Let me know if you want more articles like this either in the comments, by email or through your favourite social media. In the next article we'll look at that image I used for the header of this article.

Happy mapping!