Henrietta needs your #1 vote on Nov. 8th
With your help she can continue to work together with you for positive change in Cambridge. By voting Davis #1, you support Henrietta’s initiatives: making Cambridge more energy efficient, improving the quality of life for seniors, strengthening neighborhoods, finding alternative forms of transportation, and much more.
How the Cambridge voting system works
How the Cambridge Voting System Works
For those of you who are voting for the first time in Cambridge we explain here how the voting system works:
There are 9 positions for City Council and 6 positions for the School Committee. The voting system is based on proportional representation, which means that the election is conducted by a ballot on which you select the candidates ranking them in order of your preference. Your vote counts only once, usually for your first choice candidate.
On the electoral ballot you should designate #1 next to your first choice candidate, #2 for your second choice, and continue in this manner successively voting for all the candidates that you wish. You will have to fill out one ballot for the City Council and another for the School Committee.
Ironically, everyone who is elected ends up with the same number of votes. A complicated procedure leads to that result.
First, each ballot cast is individually registered in a computer system. The number one, two, three, etc. votes on each ballot are individually coded and kept together representing that particular ballot. Second, an election quota is established (the number of votes needed for election). For the City Council, that is the total number of valid votes cast divided by one more than the number of available seats (10) and rounded up. Next, the ballots are arrayed in virtual piles (in this computer based system) based on the number one votes. The total of number one votes for each candidate is now determined. Any candidate receiving more than quota (10% of the total number of ballots cast) is declared elected. If a candidate receives more than quota, the excess ballots are redistributed. For example, if Candidate A receives 2000 number one ballots and quota is 1800, then 200 ballots are redistributed. These ballots are removed from Candidate A's "pile" by removing every tenth one until the number of ballots is reduced to quota. The removed ballots are redistributed to the next ranked continuing candidate on each ballot. (Once a candidate is elected or defeated, she is no longer eligible to receive transferred ballots.) Now, with Candidate A elected, Candidate B has her number one votes plus the votes transferred from Candidate A's redistribution. This continues for all candidates receiving quota or more.
Next, the candidates receiving less than 50 number one votes are all counted out together. Each of their ballots is redistributed to the next eligible choice on each ballot. Now, the steady progression up from the lowest numbers begins. With each round, candidate with the new lowest number of votes is counted out and ballots are redistributed. Here is where your third, fourth, fifth and beyond votes really count. As each candidate is counted out, their pile may contain ballots containing number one, number two, number three and higher rankings for that candidate depending on the previous redistributions. The redistributed ballots go to the next continuing candidate on the particular ballot. If a ballot only goes to, say, number seven and all seven of those candidates have been either elected or counted out, that ballot goes into the "exhausted" pile.
This is where initial number one vote totals can be deceptive. A candidate may receive well under the election quota in the initial count of number one votes but if enough people vote for that candidate two, three, four or higher, they may pick up enough votes in the redistributions to be elected.
The redistributions continue and all the new totals are monitored. As candidates make quota, they are declared elected. Now, redistributions that would have gone to them, go to the next continuing candidate on the individual ballot.
Finally, after sufficient rounds to reduce the number down to nine remaining candidates, nine councillors will be elected. On rare occasions, one or more of those elected may not reach quota due to the number of exhausted ballots.
Simple isn't it! Proportional Representation has at least two great consequences. First, if a small but significant number of voters (quota) can be galvanized to vote for the same candidate number one, that candidate will be elected. This ensures minority representation. Secondly, "splitting the vote" does not happen. If, say, three candidates with similar views all run, they won't split their own vote. If they can convince their supporters to vote for them one, two and three, then as the redistributions continue, one of them will collect all the votes for that group.
The most important fact about proportional representation is that, even though you rank order many candidates, your ballot ends up in only one pile. Your ballot only goes to elect one candidate! That is why your number one vote is so important!
In January the City Council meets and elects the Mayor and Vice Mayor from the councillors.