STV (Single Transferable Vote) is a voting system in which voters list the candidates in order of preference. If any candidate does not receive enough support to win a seat, that candidate’s votes will be transferred to others according to voters’ next preferences. If any candidate receives more than enough votes to be elected, the votes not needed will be transferred in a similar way. The result is a fairer and more effective voting system, in which there are far fewer wasted votes than under our current system for General Elections – first past the post.
It can be used to elect single representatives (when it is usually called AV, the Alternative Vote) and it ensures that those elected have at least half the votes. When used to elect only one representative, of course it cannot ensure proportional representation.
When used to elect more than one representative in multi-member constituencies, STV does provide proportional representation but, unlike other PR systems, it reflects views on all issues which the voters care about, not just political party support . STV is already being used in the United Kingdom – for all elections (except MPs) in Northern Ireland and for local elections in Scotland.
STV Action is campaigning for the use of STV in all public elections in the UK to give the people the voting system they deserve to elect representatives of their choice.