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In the upcoming moderator election we each get three votes - a first, second and third choice. In order to use these effectively, I would like to understand the mechanics of how they will be used to determine the election's outcome.

A side panel on the election page says

We will calculate the winners using OpenSTV with the Meek STV method,

but unfortunately that second link leads to a section on a Wikipedia page that assumes you've already read the quite substantial amount of text about other transferrable vote systems that preceeds it, so it's not very self-contained and not very easy to understand.

In the interests of us all understanding the rules of the election, I'm wondering whether someone who's already done the work of understanding it would be willing to post a brief self-contained outline of how it works. I'll attempt to do that myself if I get a chance in the next couple of days, but with only three days until the election it might be quicker if someone else can do it.

(The reason it's important is because it affects tactical voting systems. The aim of STV is to make tactical voting less important, i.e. you can put the person you like the most as your first choice, even if you don't think they're likely to win, because your vote will carry over to your other choices if they don't. I would like to fully understand how that process works in this particular version of the system.)

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I'm sure it is explained in some detail on the mother meta. It's a fairly run-of-the-mill single-transferable-vote system except that you are only allowed a short slate. If I recall correctly anyone with a majority is elected, then the person with the fewest first-place votes is dropped and any votes directed at them fail over tho those voters' next choices. Repeat until you have filled the open seats.

Oh yeah. Now that I've found the link I see that there is a partial transfer of votes not fully needed to elect people too. Now that's a swanky extra.

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  • $\begingroup$ One might say the algorithm considers the candidates roughly in order of how certain their outcome is - that is, it first deals with candidates who are obvious winners or obvious losers, and leaves the borderline candidates (if any) for last. $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 9 '16 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ Also potentially useful: OpaVote offers a service to visualize the process. The only link I have on hand is a recent Worldbuilding SE election. $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 9 '16 at 8:16

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