Single Transferable Vote (STV)

Scottish local government elections are conducted under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. This means you rank the candidates in order of preference using numbers.

Number the candidates in the order of your choice by putting 1 in the box next to the name of the candidate who is your first choice, 2 in the box next to your second choice and so on.

You can number as many as you wish.

How a candidate gets elected

Under the STV system a candidate needs a minimum number of votes to be elected, known as the quota.

The formula for the quota is (valid votes cast)  ÷  (seats to be filled +1) + 1. 

For example, if 1,000 votes are cast in an election where 2 seats are to be filled, the quota is 334.

Counting the votes

The papers are counted electronically.

We count the first preferences - the 1s. If a candidate gets enough 1s to reach or exceed the quota they are elected.

If no one reaches or exceeds the quota the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded from the contest. The votes from the excluded candidate are transferred to the other candidates going to the voters next preference marked on the ballot paper

If no one reaches or exceeds the quota the count continues by eliminating the remaining candidate who has the fewest votes and reallocating them to the voters’ next preference. The count carries on through as many stages as are needed until finally a candidate reaches or exceeds the quota. If only two candidates are left at any stage then the one with the most votes will be to be elected, even if they do not reach the quota.