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Single Transferable Vote (STV)
The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked choice ballot voting.
 
As with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), the voter will  mark their STV ballot as "1, 2, 3" for their first, second and third choices, and subsequent choices as desired.  With IRV the threshold for election is a majority (50% plus one vote) while the threshold for election is lowered using STV based on the magnitude of the district (the number of seats to be filled in the election area).  If the district fills 9 seats, it would take 10% plus one vote to fill each seat.  If a state legislature of 99 seats were elected as one district, each seat would require 1% of the statewide votes cast plus one vote.    
 
Under STV, a voter's ballot is initially allocated to their most preferred candidate and the first round count of Number One preferences is recorded.  Candidates who have met the threshold are elected and any surplus fractional votes are transferred according to the voter's stated preferences. When no candidate surpasses the threshold, the next round begins.  The candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, and those ballots transferred to the next choice marked by each voter.  The election is over when all seats are filled.     
 
The system minimizes "wasted" votes, provides approximate proportional representation, and enables votes to be explicitly cast for individual candidates rather than for closed party lists. It achieves this by using multi-seat constituencies (voting districts) and by transferring votes to other eligible candidates that would otherwise be wasted on sure losers or sure winners.
 
The STV system is ideal for electing people to decision-making bodies, including such municipal offices as school board and city council, plus state legislature and US Congress, while the IRV requirement of absolute majority is better used for single office elections such as mayor, governor, etc. 
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Click on the pictures to see how STV works
 
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