# How does choice order affect who I'm voting for?

How does my ordering of the candidates I'm voting for in the election (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice) affect the final outcome?

The election process is fairly complex, as it uses an algorithm called Meek STV.

There's a Meta.SO post that attempts to explain how it works in plain English here:

https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/77554/174131

The tl;dr of the tl;dr version in that answer is that you should vote in the order you wish the moderators to be elected.

The election process proceeds via a number of rounds. During each round, some of the candidates are eliminated. You get one "total" vote that is applied to your #1 candidate until they are either elected or eliminated.

If they are eliminated, whatever portion of your vote was on that candidate is returned to you and your vote moves to your next favorite candidate. If they are elected, you get a portion of your vote back that can be applied to your next favorite candidate.

(badp will be along shortly to point out how and where I am wrong, as he is much more familiar with the process than I)

• Actually this is somewhat clearer than what I just wrote.
Jan 31, 2014 at 20:16
• @badp I win at election comprehension! I am going to go do an election comprehension dance. Jan 31, 2014 at 20:17

The process looks roughly like this:

• Votes are tallied only by looking at each voter's first choice, with all votes starting at a weight of 1
• Look at the top candidate and at the bottom feeder.
• Does the top candidate have enough votes? (Enough being x votes.)
• Yes! He's elected. If he receives y votes, he uses up x/y votes from each of his supporters. The remainder unused 1-x/y fraction of his each of his supporters' vote weight goes to their respective next choice of candidate.
• No! Eliminate the bottom feeder. His supporters' first choice now becomes their 2nd vote, keeping full vote weight.
• Repeat the process until 3 winners are elected.

Please don't worry too much about how the voting system works and how you could game it to "make your voice matter the most". Simply make sure you really do like your 1st candidate, and your 2nd candidate, and your 3rd candidate, in decreasing amounts of liking, and you'll be fine.

• This is the best explanation I've seen so far. Jan 31, 2014 at 20:17
• Please don't worry too much about how the voting system works and how you could game it to "make your voice matter the most". YOU'RE NOT MY DAD I DO WHAT I WANT. Jan 31, 2014 at 20:21
• I don't like how that pinged me without mention... Jan 31, 2014 at 20:36
• Simply make sure you really do like your 1st candidate I don't like my 1st candidate. He's a total jerk. Jan 31, 2014 at 20:48
• @Sterno Good thing an election isn't a popularity contest, then! Feb 1, 2014 at 0:56