Saturday, December 11, 2010

Segmentation and Surplus Transfer flaws come into play

Flaws in the way the Victorian Upper House is counted are likely to effect the outcome of the Western Metropolitan Region. The problem lies with the method of Segmentation and the calcualton of the Surplus Transfer Value.

Analysis, of what is going to be an extremely close and controversial count, has indicated that if the VEC used a mathematically correct and weighted formula for calculating a candidate's Surplus Transfer Value and  if the results were determined by a single transaction reiterative counting system. such as outlined in the Wright System, the result of the election could differ.  Likewise if Victoria had adopted the Meek method of counting the ballot. Both systems more accurately reflect the voters intentions

The quickest and easiest method of testing to see of the outcome is effected by Segmentation is to recount the ballot excluding all candidates except the last six left standing,  (ALP 3, Liberal 2, and Greens 1) Likewise you could apply the Western Australia method of calculating the Surplus Transfer Value again exlcuding all canidates except the last six standing. Similar flaws had denied Greens Candiat, Larrissa Waters election in the 2007 Queensland Senate count.

Segmentation is the system adopted that distributes an excluded candidates votes based on the value or group of votes allocated.  It was implemented to facilitate a manual count and to minimise the impact of the flaw in calculation of the Surplus Transfer Value.  It is akin  to dealing from the bottom of the deck in a game of cards. With a computerised electronic counting system there is no justification or need for segmentation.

All votes should be transferred in a single transaction.  Better still the ballot should be reset and started from a fresh following every exclusion.  This would allow for a recalculation of the quota taking into account any ballot papers that had exhausted and would allow minor party votes to contribute to a previously elected candidate's surplus value. All ballot papers are treated equally and distributed as if the excluded candidates had not stood.  One vote -one value.

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