Request: please post sample format of ranked ballot

Steve Eppley seppley at
Wed Feb 12 16:28:49 PST 1997

Tom Round wrote:
>Steve E wrote:
>>This is a request for someone to post an example ballot used
>>in STV or MPV elections.  (Cambridge MA, Australia, and Ireland use
>>ranked ballot methods, so one of them will be suitable.)  I'm
>>curious to see what format has been chosen, as this has implications
>>regarding the technology used in the voting booth and afterward to
>>tally the ballots.

>(1)  For the House of Reps, all candidates are listed in a single
>vertical column with a square immediately to the left of their
>voters must (in principle) number all candidates, consecutively,
>without repeating or omitting any numbers. There are a few marginal
>exceptions, aimed mainly at salvaging votes that'd otherwise be
>accidentally invalid than at encouraging voters to deliberately
>indicate indifference.

In other words, voters use some writing utensil, probably a pen or
pencil, to write in the rank position numbers.  I imagine it's then
hard to tally the ballots by computer, since computers aren't very 
swift at recognizing handwriting.  Does Australia tally them by hand, 
re-enter the info using keyboards, or use optical character 
recognition (OCR)?

According to Robert Winter, the STV elections in Cambridge MA also
have the voters write in the rank numbers.  They're trying to find a
ballot format which can be easily read by computer.  (He mentioned
something called "MarkSense", which I presume involves voters filling
in circles, maybe with a number 2 pencil, like in standardized
multiple choice tests.) 

Here in California, we use punch cards in our non-ranked elections:
the voter inserts his/her ballot card into a sleeve underneath a
multipage election questionnaire whose holes align with unique
corresponding points on the card.  A needle-like instrument is
inserted through the desired hole in each race to punch out the
right hole on the card.  One of these cards won't be large enough 
to hold enough space to rank many candidates in many races, so 
switching to ranked ballots means making a significant change.
And we certainly don't want to give up the computerized tallying
which the punch cards permit.  So what's a practical recommendation
which can be offered to the Pasadena League of Women Voters when
they raise the obvious concern?

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