We here at the CSC have tested out this method of running an STV election online and have found it to be valid and feasible if not a little logistically challenging. We’ve outlined below the steps necessary to successfully running a single transferable vote election online.
Using this method, It is necessary for each participant to register for the AGM. We recommend using a google form for registration a set amount of days before the AGM and you record the participants name and TCD email address. You must then validate their membership of the society (ensure they’re a paid up member and eligible to vote) and then you can add their email to your participant list. We’d advise having a google document with all of the email addresses of your participants. Once the AGM date and time is upon you, send out the Zoom link to your registered participants.
For each position, use a Google Form to create a ballot for the position. You can create the google form as shown here:
Be sure to use a Multiple Choice Grid in your question, place the candidates running in the row section and your preference (e.g. 1,2,3,4) in the column section.
NBA: Ensure you click ‘require a response in each row’ and ‘limit to one response per column.’ This will minimize confusion and spoilt ballots when counting.
DOUBLE NBA: Ensure that in the sharing settings of the form that you limit it to one response only and limit it to respondents to TCD addresses only. This is VITAL.
When it comes time for the elections then, after the candidates have made their speeches, you can share the google form ballot with the registered participants. Copy the emails from your Google Doc sheet and paste them into the share function on your google form and send it out. Set a timer of three minutes or so for participants to vote. Then announce that voting has closed, stop accepting responses on the form and you can begin to count.
Once you’ve collected the votes, have a small team and yourself begin to count them. In a two person race, the form will collate the results and show you who has received X amount of votes. If a candidate needs to be eliminated, be that RON or a third / fourth / fifth candidate, you can then create a spreadsheet with the results of the form and begin distributing the votes of that candidate. The best way to do that is by deleting the eliminated candidates firsts from the spreadsheet and then finding their seconds and distributing them. If you have a team of counters, you can have Counter 1 count all of say the eliminated candidates seconds which went to Pitbull and you can have Counter 2 count all of the seconds which went to Chihuahua. Continue ad infinitum until you have a winner.
Repeat for each new position you need elected. Our secretary, Ultan, is happy to meet and explain this process in more detail as he is aware it may not be the easiest to understand just by reading alone. You can arrange a discussion with him at: [email protected].