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Ballot paper examples for a PR-STV poll

(Proportional Representation using the Single Transferable Vote)


Recommendations for the design of PR-STV ballot papers are listed below. The specimen ballot papers shown can be downloaded and edited to suit the particular election involved. A similar format, appropriately modified, is suitable for a single-vacancy transferable vote election. Prescribed PRSA Excel spreadsheets that apply for PRSAV-T Inc's Type 3 Vote-counting Service can be downloaded for completion and emailing to


See different rules about what will constitute a valid (formal) ballot and suitable ballot paper formats:


  • Fully optional preferential rule for a valid ballot paper
    (The minimum number of preferences required to be marked is a single, unique first preference, which the PRSA recommends, but the instructions should encourage voters to mark as many preferences as they meaningfully can, in order to maximize the benefits of transferable voting, to minimize the number of exhausted ballots, and to avoid cases of tied votes, or too many candidates receiving zero votes.)

  • Partial optional preferential rule for a valid ballot paper
    (Usually, the minimum number of consecutive unique preferences required to be marked for a valid vote - particularly for public polls subject to specific laws - is a number equal to the number of positions to be filled.)

  • Full marking of all but the last preference rule for a valid ballot-paper
    (This validity rule is not recommended, as it unfortunately can result in an excessively large number of invalid votes if there is a large number of candidates, as many voters can make small mistakes in numbering, or fail to - or do not want to - number all preferences with consecutive unique numbers, possibly because it is too arduous or tedious, or they have no knowledge of the more obscure candidates. If there is only a single unmarked preference, it is deemed to be the last preference in the counting, and the ballot remains valid.)


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