In 2019 voters approved an amendment that allows New York City to use ranked choice voting though they use a different version than what you can find on ElectionBuddy.


New York City

The version of ranked choice voting that New York City utilizes is as simple as:

ElectionBuddy & Meek’s Method

ElectionBuddy uses a version of ranked choice voting, but we use Meek’s Method to determine a quota to eliminate the candidates at:

At some point, the quota may change if a vote is “exhausted". This happens if the voter has not indicated a different candidate to transfer their vote to or if their candidate indicated has already been eliminated. Once their first ranked candidate is eliminated, their vote is eliminated. This changes the quota as the total number of votes cast decreases.

For more information, please check out our help article and this article on Meek’s Method.

Conclusion

There are many different voting systems that you can use to run your voting, and within that, there might be different methods. We recommend reading your bylaws to determine what voting system should be used for your elections. Please reach out to us at support@electionbuddy.com if you have any questions regarding our voting systems.

Ever wonder how compulsory voting in Australia works? If so, then you have come to the right place!


First Off, What Is Compulsory Voting?

Compulsory voting is when a country legally requires that a citizen who is of legal voting age participates in elections. Some countries that currently enforce compulsory voting are:

For more information on compulsory voting and how it works check out this page.

What Is Compulsory Voting Like in Australia?

In Australia, if you do not register to vote or go to the polls if you are eighteen years old and older there is a chance that you might receive a fine. The fine itself is pretty minuscule (anywhere between about $15 to $55 USD); however, it is enough to encourage voters to go out and participate in the election. With that said, if you do not vote you do not automatically receive a fine. Voters are given the opportunity to appeal a fine and explain why they were unable to participate in the election.

In recent years, there has been a rise seen in informal spoiled ballots. This is when a ballot is submitted into the polls and is either blank or filled out incorrectly and cannot be counted in the final tally. As well, there are also some ballots that are a donkey vote. A donkey vote is when a voter lists their preferences in the order of appearance. Donkey votes still count towards the results of an election.

Australia voting hotdog

Although there have been chats within some of the political parties regarding abolishing compulsory voting the current system largely has support from people across the country. Many local community groups even use election day to help raise money by setting up a grill at the polling stations, so when you go to vote you have the additional bonus of supporting a local cause and enjoying some food. As well, in Australia election day takes place on a Saturday which makes it easier for a majority of the voters to be able to go out and participate. The large amount of people present along with the food helps to create a fun atmosphere at the polling stations. You also don’t have to vote in person, there are other ways to vote.

Australia is a great example of a country that enforces their compulsory voting laws and how they make it work for them. It is interesting to see and learn about different countries democratic processes and how it makes an impact when it comes to elections.

The people have spoken, and what they want is well-being and hygiene.


Foot Powder for Mayor?

Once upon a time, during the year 1967, it was election time in the tiny Ecuadorian town of Picoazà. Like many other small towns, they were holding an election for the mayor of their community. This election was different, however, as the results led to a foot powder called Pulvapies being announced as the winner. Yes, you read that right.

Hilariously enough, the foot powder was not a candidate that was included on the slate but was a write-in candidate. In other words, when the masses came out to vote, a majority of them somehow all decided not to give their vote to anyone already on the ballot, but instead independently came to the conclusion that they should add a foot powder to the slate and vote for it to be their mayor! The obvious questions is, “Why?!” — what would possess so many people to write in Pulvapies the foot powder? Well, Pulvapies had just released a very successful advertising campaign that was made to look like an election slogan, which stated: “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” This statement must have resonated with the people, as it led to the foot powder winning the election.

It is unknown how Picoazà dealt with the election of the foot powder to their mayoral role. This election goes to show that people will vote for the “ridiculous” option when all of their other non-ridiculous options appear to be undesireable. Furthermore, this election truly shows the power of writing in a candidate for an election and the impact it can have on the results.

This isn’t the first non-human electoral candidate to be elected into office and I am sure it will not be the last. Some of the various non-human candidates include but are not limited to: cats, dogs, goats, a wooden trading post, rhinos, and boars. In fact, a joke party exists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York called the Inanimate Objects Party (IOP). The IOP was formed as a protest to the fraternities deciding the nominees.

People, when given the option to vote for what they believe in, will make all kinds of decisions, including voting for inanimate objects if they do not feel anyone else on the slate rightly represents their wants and needs.

Electronic voting as becoming a popular way to conduct elections but what would electronic voting actually look like on a national level?


Estonia and I-Voting

Estonia is the first country to allow for electronic voting (or i-voting) in conjunction with paper ballots for a nation-wide election. Estonia’s i-voting has been in place since 2005. I-voting is on the upward trend in use in these Estonian elections, as 43% of the votes for the 2019 election were cast using this method!

While this is all fascinating and exciting, you might be wondering how their voting system works. Essentially, voters in Estonia have an ID card that they can use to log into the online voting system during a designated voting period. When the vote is submitted it becomes encrypted so it is impossible to see who the voter voted for. After the ballot is cast the voter’s identity is separated from the ballot to ensure anonymity during the election process. For more information on this process please see this page. Apparently, there were concerns about people’s votes being bought or coerced with this online voting method. To accommodate for potential vote coercion Estonia allows the voter to log into the online voting system and vote as many times as they like. Each time the voters vote, their previous electronic ballot is discarded and replaced with the new one during the advanced voting periof of the elecion.

Once a voter has placed their vote they can verify their vote by using a mobile app that scans a QR code that the voter receieves once they have finished the online voting process. This QR code will allow the voter to view their preferred choice of their mobile right after their vote has been completed. This way the voter can ensure that their vote was registered the way it was intended.

Estonia I-Voting

So, how do they count these electronic “i-votes” and verify the results of the election? Below is the i-voting process as it is outlined on this website:

  1. All i-votes have to be annuled due to changing of i-votes are annulled;
  2. The personal data (digital signatures) of voters are separated from electronic votes. Anonymous votes are subject to counting. An i-vote contains only the election identificator, and a candidate registration number;
  3. I-votes are opened, using the vote-opening key. Access to the key is distributed between the members of the National Electoral Committee;
  4. Votes are counted and the number of votes cast for candidates is ascertained;
  5. The voting results are entered into the election information system.

Interestingly, Estonia appraoched i-voting in an attempt to increase voter turnout. Not only is electronic voting convenient and on the rise in Estonia, but it was also noted that voting electronically is the most cost-efficient voting system that is currently offered in Estonia. Estonia can help to offer a glimpse at what the future of voting might look like. If you are interested in learning more please go and take a look at Estonia’s website on their i-voting!

“Young people need to vote. They need to get out there. Every vote counts. Educate yourself too. Don’t just vote. Know what you’re voting for, and stand by that.” - Nikki Reed


What My Grade 11 Social Studies Teacher Taught Me About Voting

I remember my mother always being actively engaged in the idea of democracy and voting since I was at least seven years old. As far as I know, she has never missed voting in an election and volunteered her time at the polling stations for the election that took place last April. But, with that said, I didn’t really pay much attention to the idea of voting until my Grade 11 Social Studies class. My teacher (let’s call him Mr.French) was quirky, but he was also so passionate about voting.

One of the anecdotes I remember him telling consisted of a conversation between his grandpa, his brother, and himself when they were around the ages of 3-5:

Grandpa: So now that I’ve given you some time to think about it, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Brother: I want to be a fire truck!

Mr. French: I don’t know what I want to be but I want to be voting!

What do fire trucks have to do with voting

Mr. French was taught from a young age the importance of voting and I am positive that, to this day, he has never missed voting in an election since he gained the ability to do so. He taught us that it is important to get out and vote. Clearly, this is a leasson that has begun to reach the masses considering that in Alberta (where our Canadian office is located) the last provincial election had a voter turnout of 64%. This is the highest turnout since 1982!!

The most important aspect of voting Mr. French taught me was that no matter who you vote for your vote still matters. With this knowledge in my head, I was excited when I was able to vote in 2015. A surprising amount of people I talk to have the mentality of “why should I vote, my vote will not make a difference.” But if everyone with that mentality voted I guarantee it would make a difference.

Why voting matters

Interestingly, there is a party that exists in Canada for people who do want to vote but don’t necessarily want to vote for any of the running parties. This party is The Rhinoceros Party of Canada (which I did first hear about in my Grade 11 Social Studies class). The Rhino Party was created in 2006 and promises to not keep any of their promises if they are elected.When we did a fake federal election across my highschool - The Rhino Party won by a landslide, proving that The Rhino Party is for people who want to vote but either have no idea what is going on or they don’t like any of the other options. One of The Rhino Party’s most recent promises is that they “want more green cars on the road, including dark green, pale green and fluorescent green cars. In fact, the party wants fluorescent green to be Canada’s national colour.”

The fact of the matter is if you can vote you should vote! Voting makes a difference on all levels and it is important to have a say within your government, your organizations, your school, etc..

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