It’s only the second time round for STV council elections, and the first time they’ve been decoupled from the Scottish Parliament elections so people are still figuring out how this works. On The Doors(tm) there’s still a degree of uncertainty amongst the electorate about how this works so the parties (and the Electoral Commission) are providing guidance. Fair enough, however some of the parties are asking people to only vote for their candidates and to not continue ranking candidates further down.

It’s fairly obvious why you would want first, second and third preferences for your parties candidates and why different candidates are asking for first preferences in different bits of the ward. It’s no good getting a ton of transfers if you’re knocked out early on due to a lack of first preferences, though the practicalities of that and some of the second order effects it has have strengthened my view that we should switch to Condorcet instead.

I genuinely don’t understand the “please don’t vote for any other candidates after those of party X” though. It’s not like there will be fewer councillors elected if someone doesn’t make quota. Since a voters preferences are only redistributed to other parties once the candidates are elected or eliminated it doesn’t detract from them.  Unless there’s a general fear that SNP voters might continue down their preferences and then start ranking Labour candidates and vice versa – the visceral, spiteful antipathy that some members of those two parties have for each other is rarely shared by voters afterall – I can’t see the point. Is that it? Is it a hope that it marginally improves the chances of a more palatable Green or Lib Dem or Tory candidate filling those seats?

Seems daft to me. Personally, I’ll be using all my preferences until I’m forced to work out who I like least out of UKIP, the Scottish Unionist Party and the Scottish Christian Party.