03 March 2013

ICAI Branch Elections: Ahmedabad

Welcome back to the election season. It's now turn of the branches. Here is the final list of the candidates contesting the Ahmedabad branch election scheduled on 9th March 2013. There are 8 members to be elected to the managing committee of the Ahmedabad branch. The no. of candidates in the fray are only 14. Not too bad, not even 2 candidates for one seat. 

Ahmedabad Branch Elections
Sr. No.
Name of the Candidate
Dave Sonal Sanjaybhai
Jain Vikash Kumar
Jani Hersh Samirbhai
Jha Satyendrakumar Krishnadeo
Khandelwal Purushottamlal
Parikh Mukesh Ochhavlal
Patel Amrish Jashvantlal
Patel Bhaumil Karamshibhai
Patel Chintan Nareshkumar
Pulavwala Murtuza H.
Shah Bishan Rameshchandra
Shah Hiren Dineshchandra
Talati Aniket Sunil
Tulsian Pradeep Govindram

Who stands the chance to win this battle? 

It is really very very difficult to predict anything in this election as the basic voting method has been changed now. It's going to be preferential voting method. In earlier elections, we have seen everyone was allowed to vote for 8 candidates and each vote carried equal value. That was the precise reason that we used to see two panels and people in one panel could have got their majority of candidates elected. So for example, I came to vote for Mr. X and when I vote for eight candidates, the seven candidates other than Mr. X would also got the equal value of votes and the powerful panel got the probability of getting more candidates elected.

But this has all changed now. Now when I go to vote for Mr. X, Mr. X will only get my highest and the value of the other candidates to whom I vote, will not have the same value as I will give them subsequent preferences. That makes this game more interesting. I will give my analysis on who has the best chance to win this battle. Who are those, who stands the chance to be in the top eight. I will write in my subsequent dispatches. Tomorrow and later. Today I will write on what is this preferential voting.

What is this new voting system - single transferable vote (STV)?
By CA Gopal Krishna Raju

What is STV: The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most preferred candidate, and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or unused votes are transferred according to the voter's stated preferences. The system minimizes "wasted" votes, provides approximately proportional representation, and enables votes to be explicitly cast for individual candidates. It achieves this by using multi-seat region (8 managing committee members for Ahmedabad branch) and by transferring votes to other eligible candidates that would otherwise be wasted on sure losers or sure winners.

150 year History of STV: The concept of transferable voting was first proposed by Thomas Wright Hill in 1821. The system remained unused in real elections until 1855, when Carl Andræ proposed a transferable vote system for elections in Denmark. Andræ's system was used in 1856 to elect the Danish Rigsraad.

Who: Although he was not the first to propose a system of transferable votes, the English barrister Thomas Hare is generally credited with the beginning of STV, and he may have independently developed the idea in 1857. Hare's view was that STV should be a means of "making the exercise of the suffrage a step in the elevation of the individual character, whether it is found in the majority or the minority." In Hare's original STV system, he further proposed that electors should have the opportunity of discovering which candidate their vote had ultimately counted for, to improve their personal connection with voting. This is unnecessary in modern STV elections, however, as an individual voter can discover how their vote was ultimately distributed by viewing detailed election results.


The Hare Quota
H2D: In the unlikely event that each successful candidate receives exactly the same number of votes not enough candidates can meet the quota and fill the available seats in one count. There is probability the last candidate cannot meet the quota, and it may be fairer to eliminate that candidate.
To avoid this inept situation, it is common to use the Droop quota instead of Hare Quota, which is always lower than the Hare quota.

Droop quota: ICAI Method: (Rule 35, Schedule 8: Procedure for Counting of Votes and declaration of results)

The ICAI quota formula is the Droop quota which given as: [Votes polled / (seats + 1)] + 1
The Droop Quota
Droop produces a lower quota than Hare. If each ballot paper has a full list of preferences, Droop guarantees that every winner meets the quota rather than being elected as the last remaining candidate after lower candidates are eliminated. The fractional part of the resulting number, if any, is dropped (the result is rounded down to the next whole number.)
It is only necessary to allocate enough votes to ensure that no other candidate still in contention could win. This leaves nearly one quota's worth of votes unallocated, but counting these would not alter the outcome.
Droop is the only whole-number threshold for which
(a)   a majority of the voters can be guaranteed to elect a majority of the seats when there is an odd number of seats;
(b)   For a fixed number of seats.
Each winner's surplus votes transfer to other candidates according to their remaining preferences.

Counting Single Transferable Votes
The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system based on proportional representation and ranked voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most-preferred candidate. After candidates have been either elected (winners) by reaching quota or eliminated (losers), surplus votes are transferred from winners to remaining candidates (hopefuls) according to the surplus ballots' ordered preferences.
The system minimizes "wasted" votes, provides approximately proportional representation, and enables votes to be explicitly cast for individual candidates rather than for closed party lists. A variety of algorithms (methods) carry out these transfers.


Under the single transferable vote system, votes are successively transferred to hopefuls from two sources:
·         Surplus votes (i.e. those in excess of the quota) of successful candidates
·         All votes of eliminated candidates.
The possible algorithms for doing this differ in detail, e.g., in the order of the steps. There is no general agreement on which is best, and the choice of exact method may affect the outcome.
1.    Compute the quota.
2.    Assign votes to candidates by first preferences.
3.    Declare as winners all candidates who received at least the quota.
4.    Transfer the excess votes from winners to hopefuls.
5.    Repeat step 2 to step 4 until new candidates are elected. (Caution: Under some systems, votes could be transferred in this step to earlier winners or losers. This might affect the outcome.)
If all seats have winners, the process is complete. Otherwise:
6.    Eliminate one or more candidates. Typically either the lowest candidate or all candidates whose combined votes are less than the vote of the lowest remaining candidate.
7.    Transfer the votes of the losers to continuing candidates are declared to be losers.
8.    Repeat step 2 to step 7 until all seats are full.

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