From Ft Wm, Inv & Tor CC

The Alternative Vote (AV) electoral system is used to elect regional councillors to single seats in Scotland. This usually only happens when there is a by-election; when more than one seat is contested AV generalises to STV (Single Transferable Vote).

On the morning of 4th December 2021, FITCC community councillor Mark Drayton proposed holding a 'primary' contest to select an independent candidate to contest the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward (ward 21) in the regional council election scheduled for May 2022. Shortly afterwards, FITCC community councillor Andy McKenna further proposed a similar primary for the Caol and Mallaig ward (ward 11). Both men had just stood (unsuccessfully) in a single-seat by-election for ward 21 held two days previously and won by the SNP's Ms Sarah Fanet. Later that morning the only other non-party candidate in that by-election, Ms Joanne Matheson, signalled her interest in holding a primary in ward 21.

Using AV to decide the winner of a primary in each ward would be simpler than running a fully-fledged STV election, and this compromise might well be acceptable to candidates because the result could not anyway be legally binding.

A C program to calculate the winner of an AV election is provided here.