Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blaming the electoral system

So, with less than two hours to go until we find out who has won the Wellington mayoralty, incumbent Kerry Prendergast is pre-emptively blaming STV for any loss. According to Prendergast, it is "unfair and undemocratic" to require mayors to have majority support, and to use a voting system which takes second and lower preferences into account to determine that. And then there's this bit:

"At this stage, Celia [Wade-Brown] can't beat me, but STV can. I don't think members of the public have really understood the system. Some do, but the majority don't understand."
Or, to put it another way, "stupid ignorant voters not voting for me". But contra Prendergast, I think Wellington voters understood STV very well. They understood that they could rank candidates in order of preference, and they understood that they could rank her last, or not rank her at all, effectively casting an "anyone but Prendergast" vote. And it seems that many of them did exactly that.