Annual General Meetings/2017/Voting Information and Instructions
OSMF elections are, in accordance with our Articles of Association, now to be held in accordance with the Single Transferable Vote model. This is an approach designed to allow for a more equitable outcome to multi-candidate elections than would a simple “most votes” model. Specifically, it permits each voter to rank candidates in order of preference, with the number of available seats being allocated to the most preferred candidates on their reaching of a “quota” or threshold of votes. Where a candidate fails to achieve a quota, s/he is eliminated, but the next preferences of each voter having chosen that candidate will be distributed to other candidates. This is intended to reduce strategic voting and allow voters to allocate their first preference to their actual preferred candidate, secure in the knowledge that their second and subsequent preferences will be heeded even if the preferred candidate has only a slim chance of success.
A number of approaches are available both in determining the quota and in the detail of how votes are transferred. Our rules do no stipulate which should be used for OSMF elections and the distinction is in practice not a large one. This election will be conducted according to the Scottish rules for STV elections:
For this election, polling will be performed online using the widely-used OpaVote, which is a hosted platform.
The platform preserves the expected secrecy of ballot, exposing operational statistics related to turnout and including details of who has and has not voted. OpaVote conducts the counting process automatically and generates a result and the outcome of each round of counting. It does not provide information about what specific voters have voted, but after the end of the election it provides a file with anonymised raw ballots.
Entitlement to vote requires you to be a paid-up member of OSMF for at least the 30 days preceding the close of poll. In addition, you must be fully paid up. Please review article 75 of the OSMF Articles of Association where this is laid out.
Mechanics of voting
Each person entitled to vote will, on the opening of the polls, receive an email from OpaVote containing a unique, non-spoofable, voting link. The email will be sent to the address you used when you registered as an OSMF member. Please check your spam folder. If you believe that you should have received an email to vote, but you can't find it, please send a message to email@example.com with the subject "AGM2017 election email".
The voting link will lead to a secure web page listing each candidate in random order and allowing the user to rank the candidates in order of preference. There is no obligation to assign a preference to each candidate - you may, if you wish, vote for only one single candidate or for a small number. However, doing so may deny you from further influence on the outcome of later rounds of vote counting if none of your chosen candidates are elected.
You will vote online and may do so only once - attempting to re-enter the voting process using the same link will deny you access, but your earlier ballot will still count. So if you think you have not made up your mind yet, wait and vote later.
Voting will open early on the week before the AGM and continue until the AGM. Because the count is electronic, it is expected that the result will be announced without delay.
The raw ballots (which are anonymous) become available after the end of the election and can be exported as a structured data file to a standalone tool, OpenSTV, for independent verification of the count and the outcome.
The raw ballots will be made available to any member wishing to reassure him or herself of the correctness of the result.