Thursday, 11 November 2010

Two wrongs do not make a right

In the continuing debate over ABC Electoral Analyst, Antony Green, censorship of public debate we present another example of Green censorship and his imposition of central control to avoiid criticism and disclosure

On Anthony Green's censored ABC blog site Antony Green entertains the debate about segmentation and responds leaving out crucial details and facts

"If all votes were distributed at once, a candidate could end up with a sizable surplus and from ballot papers at different values, and this would make the distortion from the transfer value calculation even worse. Breaking the votes into smaller bundles attempts to limit the distortion, as does doing the distribution in order of descending transfer value."
Two wrongs do not make a right.

The method of segmentation was devised to facilitate a manual count and minimise the errors that exist in the method used to calculate the surplus transfer value. There is no logic to support it, with computer aided counting there is no longer justification as a computerised count can be performed within ten minutes to three hours depending in the number candidates and number of iterations required

The Western Australia system only fixes the flaw that exists in the calculation of the Surplus Transfer Value. It does not address the distortion that exist in the segmentation of excluded candidate votes which has been left in place.  The distorion in segmenation of the vote resulted in thew rong p[erson being elcted in the Queenland 2007 Senate election. In Tasmania and teh ACT they only distribute the "last bundle" of segmented votes which is even worst as it goves more wieght to one segement of votes then it does to other segments, (IE teh vote is not distributed equally).   Both the Senate and Tasmainain/ACT systems distort the proportionality of the count and as such the results of the election.


The Wright system uses a reiterative counting process which seeks to address both of the idenitaled issues with segemnatuon and the flawed caklculation of the surplus transfer value, including issues related to exhausted ballots (Votes that do not express a valid preference for a continuing candidate).

The Wright system distributes only primary votes and surplus distributions in a single iteration. If all position are not filled in a single iteration then the candidate with the lest number of votes is excluded from the count and the count is reset and restarted and preferences votes reallocated as if that candidate had not stood.

The quota is recalcualted following the re-distribution of the primary vote. Any candidates that have a surplus of votes their surplus is redistributed proportionally to the value of the surplus and the value of each ballot paper, using what is referred to as the "weighted inclusive gregory transfer method"- makes some people feel good to use such titles)

The surplus vote is weighted and distributed based on the value of the vote not the number of ballot papers (As is the case in the Senate and Victorian Upper house counts).

The process of iteration continues for each exclusion until all vacant positions are filled.

This process outlined in the Wright system removes the flaws and distortion that has unnecessarily been built into the Australain voting system over the years.

It does make a difference.

In the 2010 NSW Senate election the LNP group ticket vote increased in value disproportionately by over 14,000 votes as a result of the flaw in the way the Surplus Transfer value is calculated

In 2007 Victorian Senate count the LNP group vote increased in value by over 7,000 votes which could have resulted in the ALPs David Feeney losing out to the Greens who received the bonus 7.000 votes at the expense of One Nation. Family First and the DLP, all who did not support the Greens candidature.

In 2007 Queensland Senate Election Larissa Waters was not elected to office because of the method of segmentation. If you recount the 2007 QLD senate vote excluding all candidates but the last seven standing (3 ALP, 3 LNP and 1 Grn) Larissa Waters whould have been elected.

This of course suits the main parties who are sometimes the benefactor of the flawed counting sytem but it comes at the cost of devaluing  minor party votes.

If we counted money and allocated dividends, as we count Senate votes, our monetary system would collapse overnight. We argue in court about single member states that are won or lost by less then 10 votes but we blissfully ignore the upper-house system which can be lost by a distortion in the count that represents thousands of votes. A distortion that should not exist and that we must correct.

A fair, accurate voting system is not too much to ask for is it?

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