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Hutt City Council Electoral System

12 September 2002

Hutt City Council Electoral System

At least five per cent of Hutt City electors would be required to demand a poll on the type of electoral system used to elect members to Hutt City Council and the Petone, Eastbourne and Wainuiomata Community Boards, said Electoral Officer Stuart Duncan.

Hutt City electors have the opportunity to ask for a poll on the type of voting system to be used for the next two local authority elections in 2004 and 2007.

"The choice is between the current First Past the Post (FPP) system or the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, a different system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference," said Stuart Duncan.

Electors have 90 days in which to submit a valid demand to request a poll, with the final day being 16 December 2002.

Five per cent equates to 3,250 electors.

If no demand is received, elections will continue to be carried out under First Past the Post.

If a valid demand for a poll is made, Council has 82 days to hold the poll. It is expected that such a poll would be held sometime between March and May next year, with the result being binding on Council.

The cost of carrying out a poll on the electoral system would be around $90,000.

Background on Single Transferable Vote

STV lets voters have a say about every candidate. Voters can select one candidate above all the others and can say which other candidates they prefer if their top choice doesn't have enough support to get in, or doesn't require all votes received in order to be elected. This can be done by ranking all candidates in preferred order - 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc

In STV elections a "quota" of votes is worked out based on the total number of votes and the number of vacancies. A candidate who reaches this quota is elected. If that candidate has more votes than are needed to reach the quota the "surplus" votes are allocated to the second choice candidates of those who voted for that candidate. If those candidates reach the quota and there are still "surplus" votes, they are allocated to third choice candidates and so on, until all vacancies are filled. Votes may also be redistributed from candidates who have received very few votes and have no chance of being elected. In this case, a voter's second preference can be used to assist another candidate.

Certified computer software will be used to calculate the quota and count candidate votes. This will ensure consistency and will ensure that the same approach is used for each candidate and each election.

For more information on the Single Transferable Vote System visit the Department of Internal Affairs website at www.dia.govt.nz


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