Tomorrow (Thursday the 3rd of May 2012) there will be local elections in all council areas of Scotland.
For the second time, it will be held using the Single Transferable Vote, which basically means we’re being asked to rank the candidates.
In East Renfrewshire, last time the result was Labour 7, Tory 7, SNP 3, LD 1 and Independents 2, and the council is currently being controlled by a everybody-but-the-Tories coalition.
I live in Ward 1 (“Neilston, Uplawmoor and Newton Mearns North”), which last time voted Tory 2, Labour 1, SNP 1 — see the graph on the left, which to some extent is based on this posting by Lallands Peat Worrier. The coloured lines show the votes for each candidate; when they crash into the floor, it’s because the candidate was eliminated, and when they go up, it’s because of votes transferred from other candidates.
The SNP is much stronger nationally now than five years ago, so the decision has been made to put forward two candidates in this ward, Cllr Tony Buchanan and Frank Rankin, who I know well from SNP branch meetings and who I’m happy to endorse.
Because of the electoral system, it’s very important to use all your priorities if you want to maximise your influence — even if you’re first priority gets elected in the first round, parts of your vote can still get transferred to other candidates if the elected candidate got more votes than necessary (see also James’s advice on Better Nation).
I’ll definite give my first and second priorities to the two SNP candidates in my ward!