Margaret McGaley on Ranked VotingMargaret McGaley led the fight against Ireland going to touchscreen/DRE's. She provided this message on April 8, 2009:
In 2003 I founded "Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting" which
successfully campaigned against the introduction of the
Nedap/Powervote electronic voting system in the Republic of Ireland.
In 2008 I completed my PhD titled "Evoting: an Immature Technology in
a Critical Context" .
Having researched various electoral systems in the early part of my
PhD, I can confidently say that PR-STV (proportional representation,
single transferable vote) is my favourite. In Ireland we use it both
in multi-seat constituencies (choice voting - to elect members of the
Dail - our parliament) and in single-seat constituencies (instant
runoff voting - to elect our President).
PR-STV has many strengths. The voter can easily understand the concept
of ranking their choices, even if they don't understand all of the
complexities of the counting system. The votes can be counted in
semi-public settings with oversight from experienced and interested
members of the public. Best of all, voters can express their actual
preferences, without fear of helping their least favourite candidate.
This gives smaller parties a real chance to have their representatives
elected, and even to become part of Government.
The fact that this method has been used in Ireland since before the
Republic existed, with only two misguided trials of e-voting, proves
that it can be very successfully counted by hand. The fact that the
largest political party has twice attempted to replace PR-STV with
first-past-the-post supports the idea that they system helps smaller
parties. The fact that they failed both times shows that the Irish
people like, and want to keep using, PR-STV. Finally, the fact that
Ireland has multiple parties represented in the Dail (our parliament)
shows that they system gives smaller parties a chance.