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It does not seem possible to vote for just one candidate in the current election.

How can one do this?

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    Yes, it’s actually possible, just drag your favourite candidate in the ballot box. What exact issue are you experiencing? Which browser and system are you using? Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 13:43
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    @MassimoOrtolano It's probably just me. I was expecting some sort of 'submit' button to appear and supposed that it wasn't doing so because I hadn't filled both spaces.
    – user96809
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 14:28
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    Personally, I would prefer to elect them both!
    – jakebeal
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 23:16
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    @Araucaria: It isn’t just you. I too found it confusing that after entering a candidate, or making your rank order list of candidates, there isn’t a “confirm” (or such) button. Not a fan of that aspect of the interface. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 11:35

1 Answer 1

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Let me start with a general note that is not so relevant to this election, but explains why the interface is how it is: In the STV system employed by SE, you do not vote (strictly speaking) for a candidate, you rank all candidates. If you “refuse” to rank any candidates, this is equivalent to ranking them last. It’s not that you can explicitly not vote for them. (The guidance to only rank candidates you think would make good moderators is misleading in my opinion.)

In the current scenario – a one-slot election with two candidates –, the votings system boils down to a plain majority election where the candidate who is ranked first by most voters wins. Thus, the following are equivalent:

  • Rank Candidate A first and do not rank Candidate B.
  • Rank Candidate A first and rank Candidate B second.

That being said, you can do the first thing, by dragging and dropping only one candidate in the list. The selection will be automatically saved every five seconds:

Pending save

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    The fine print: "It’s not that you can explicitly not vote for them" -- this is true in the current scenario (2 candidates for 1 slot) but not generally. For example, if we had 3 candidates and 2 slots, and everyone voted for Candidate A without providing a second choice. In this case, the election fails with only 1 slot filled. (I'm not sure exactly what happens if B has some support, but not enough to reach the 50% threshold after all the vote transferring is done).
    – cag51 Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 17:52
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    @cag51: If there is a single voter ranking B over C, B will win that seat.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 18:07
  • I've thought about this for some time, and my thinking is still the same. Your explanation seems to be not voting for a candidate makes no difference to the outcome of the election, therefore you cannot 'explicitly not vote for them'. My feeling is that this is not true. One cannot 'explicitly' vote for anyone. But what you mean is that it will make no difference to the result of the election. However, it will make a difference to the record. When you cannot affect the outcome of an election, the record counts for something.
    – user96809
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 0:25
  • It's also worth pointing out that the guidance on voting explicitly states "You should only rank the candidates you think would make good moderators." Either the people who wrote that guidance have a reason for doing so - or they don't understand the way the election works. [However, I'm just making that point. I'm grateful for the explanation of the drag and drop.]
    – user96809
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 0:33
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    When you cannot affect the outcome of an election, the record counts for something. – If it counts for you, I cannot dissuade you, but mind that all those interpreting the record must also take into account that many voters are aware of how the system works. — Either the people who wrote that guidance have a reason for doing so - or they don't understand the way the election works. – It’s the latter. Actually, all of this prompted this Meta SE question of mine, which I somehow forgot to mention here.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 6:18
  • @Wrzlprmft That's a different and very specific scenario where there are two people you don't wish to vote for.
    – user96809
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 23:47
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    @Araucaria: I am not exactly sure what you are aiming at, but the example I used with two people is only an example. The advice (“You should only rank the candidates you think would make good moderators.”) is generally not sound. As long as you have only one candidate who you consider unacceptable, it is irrelevant, but still incorrect. — two people you don't wish to vote for – That formulation suggests that you are thinking about STV in terms that don’t apply to it, but rather to primitive voting systems.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 5:53

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