United Kingdom: Scottish Government gets electronic voting system for local elections | Computer Weekly

The Scottish Government has contracted CGI to develop a vote counting system that will be used in the local elections in 2017. The elections use the single transferable vote system (STV), which is a form of proportional representation where votes choose multiple candidates in order of preference. As a result, manual counting would take up to four days. CGI provided an electronic vote counting system at the same elections in 2012. The current contract, worth around £6.5m, covers all 32 Scottish local authorities. There are about 1,200 councillors in 353 wards.

Editorials: How to save money and reduce rancor in campaigns | Krist Novoselic/Salon.com

While Bill de Blasio’s win in the Democratic contest for mayor was the big story out of New York on election day earlier this month, there were other national implications: one of our greatest cities showcased why it’s time to leave 19th century democracy behind. Election officials had to haul old lever machines out of storage, with highly predictable troubles involving broken machines and frustrated voters. In an equally outdated voting rule, voters could only indicate support for one candidate in each race, rather than rank them in order of preference — meaning that instead of a primary winner being determined on election day, there now needs to be an additional run-off election held in the city a few weeks later. When you can only choose one person in a multi-candidate field, the candidate with the most votes can earn well under 50 percent. (On Tuesday, Boston had a mayoral race in which the top vote-getter had just 18 percent; that city will have a runoff between the top two finishers.)

Canada: Is first past the post the best voting system for B.C.? University to study alternatives from Tuesday’s outcome | The Province

University researchers have launched a study to determine if an alternative voting system would have an impact on the results of Tuesday’s provincial election. B.C. currently employs the first past the post (FPTP) system where the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner. The Votes BC study, involving researchers from the University of B.C. and Laval University, will look at how voting patterns may change under two different electoral systems: proportional representation (PR) and single transferable vote (STV).

Thailand: Regulators divided on Thailand electoral reform | Bangkok Post

Former and current election regulators and academics were divided yesterday over a proposal to switch to a new national electoral system. While most former regulators and academics favour changes to the system, a current member of the Election Commission believes the format in place now should be retained. Former election commissioner Gothom Arya said the current electoral system was being blamed for contributing to political conflict, and needed to be amended. The system has led to two major political parties dominating parliament, he said, and they were competing for power often at the expense of national interest. Mr Gothom was speaking at a seminar on electoral system reform organised yesterday by the Election Commission. He proposed three alternative options: A parallel system; a multi-member proportional (MMP) system; and a single transferable vote (STV) system.