Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where do I get my questions answered?

A. Send an email to openstv at googlegroups.com.

Q. Which voting method should I use?

A. There is no clear answer to this question and you will get different answers from different people, but we will give our recommendations here.

If you are electing one person and simplicity is important, then we recommend instant runoff voting. Instant runoff voting is easy to explain and gives good results.

If you are electing one person and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Condorcet voting. Most people agree that Condorcet is the best method for electing one person, but it is more difficult to explain.

If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is important, then we recommend Scottish STV, as it is the simplest of all the STV methods.

If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Meek STV. Most people agree that Meek STV is the best variant of STV, but it can only be implemented with a computer program.

Q. Will you implement a feature that I would like to see in OpenSTV?

A. It depends.

The main factors include (1) how worthwhile the desired feature is, (2) how important you or your organization is, and (3) how hard it is to implement the desired feature.

For example, if we have no idea who you are, but your request is a really good one and it is easy to implement, it will probably make the next release. On the other hand, if the United States Senate asks us to implement a really crummy feature, then we probably wouldn't do it.

Q. How can I collect ballots from voters?

A. You can use OpaVote to run an election online. With OpaVote, you can send a private link to the email address of each voter, and each voter clicks on the link to cast a secure vote. When the election is over, you can download the ballots and count the votes with OpenSTV.