[Election-Methods] KPFK LSB election

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sun Dec 30 12:53:35 PST 2007

Jonathan Lundell  > Sent: 30 December 2007 19:22
> KPFK (the LA member of the Pacifica radio network) recently held its  
> election for its Listener Station Board. They used STV to elect 9  
> board members and 5 alternates. 2246 ballots were counted by hand,  
> using a spreadsheet as a tally aid.
> There were 27 rounds. Curiously, a write-in candidate was elected in  
> the first round, and the next seat wasn't filled until the 20th round.  
> It was a hotly contested election, but (un?)fortunately I don't know  
> much about KPFK politics.
> I've been unable to find a copy of the counting rules, but it appears  
> to have been a BC-style count. There are fractional votes even in the  
> first round, for reasons I don't understand. The spreadsheet used for  
> the tally looks pretty clever, but even so the hand count took several  
> days.
> The five alternates are the last five candidates eliminated, in  
> reverse order of elimination. There are at least a couple of reasons  
> why such a method of choosing alternates is bogus, but the main  
> election looks reasonably well done, considering the constraints of  
> hand counting.
> I've posted the tally sheet (I don't know whether it's official; I got  
> it informally from one of the candidates), temporarily, for anyone who  
> might be interested:
> http://homepage.mac.com/jlundell/filechute/KPFK%20hand%20count.zip

This is very interesting and it would be very useful to see the Election Rules they used.  I don't think these are BC-like rules,
i.e. applying the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method (WIGM) of transferring surpluses.  I suspect the rules are more like the STV
rules for the Australian Federal Senate elections, i.e. Inclusive Gregory Method (IGM).

I suggest that, because when Grace Aaron's surplus is transferred (Round 21), they show only one transfer value (cell BK7 =
0.04476852).  But Grace Aaron then held ballot papers of two different values, namely 1.00 (her own first preferences and all the
first preferences transferred to her from excluded candidates) and 25.5 ballots @ 0.213867(etc) transferred from the surplus of
W01-Ahjamu Makalani.  If they had been using BC-like rules, they would have had to apply two different transfer values.  Instead,
they have averaged, the way the Australians do (and that is fundamentally flawed).

They also seem to have used arithmetic of indeterminate precision - there is no truncation to a stated precision.  Some results are
shown to 14 decimal places, others to 16 decimal places.  The differencing values are shown to 29 decimal places.  I don't know how
they did these calculations because my version of Excel (Excel 2002) cuts out at 15 decimal places.  They start with 2246 votes, but
at Round 5 they have gained nearly one whole extra vote and then they progressively lose votes.  If the calculations are done
correctly and consistently, the vote total at the completion of each Round should always be exactly 2246.

Although I can follow the calculations, it seems illogical to me to have put the numbers of transferred votes in a column before the
numbers of ballot papers from which the vote values were calculated.

James Gilmour

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