Originally posted by vulture
How about the good old single transferable vote system, just to make life confusing; although it is actually less confusing than it sounds.
Say there are 4 options: A, B, C and D. Each voter lists the options in order of preference. You then go through a loop of discarding the option(s) with the lowest number of votes, and reallocating those votes according to their next preference.
e.g. 5 voters, 4 options. Each lists their order of preference as
So after the initial round, A has 2 votes, B has 2 votes, C has 1 vote and D has no votes.
So we delete option D, and re-allocate it's votes. There are none, so this doesn't take long. Then we delete option C, since it is the next least popular. That vote (number (5)) is reallocated. The second preference there is B, so 5's vote is added to B's total, giving A 2 votes and B 3. B wins.
The reason for doing this procedure rather than going for a simple majority is basically to compensate for a split of the protest vote. For example, suppose at the next US election, the candidates are Bush, Dean and Hillary Clinton standing as an independent
Bush gets 40%, Dean and Clinton both get 30%. But all
the Dean and Clinton supporters want Bush out. First past the post leaves him in. STV would mean that Hillary got eliminated, with her supporters votes going to their second choice candidate (which one assumes would be Dean - or there might be a 'even Bush is better than Dean' thing going on).
Back to the AU. We could either adopt the most popular choice after transferable voting (or poll between the two most popular choices), or use this as a method to select which option gets put to a yes/no vote first.