As I understand it, the vote by Labour party members for the leadership will be by a Single Transferable Vote (STV) method. What this means is that you vote for your preferred candidate, then for your next preferred candidate, and so on until all of the candidates have been ranked. A tedious chore that I have had to do too often for local body elections.
When the first preference voting is counted and no outright winner is found as usually happens in elections with large numbers of candidates, then the lowest candidate is eliminated. If your preferred candidate is eliminated, your next preference is counted on the subsequent vote. This process carries on until the vote gives a majority to a single candidate
This, to me, this probably explains the remarkable singing in harmony of the two currently declared candidates here this morning. Based on the current feeling around members, Grant Robertson is likely to be the first preference candidate of some members and the second preference for even more. Shane Jones is less likely to get many first preference votes, and I suspect will wind up as being the last – especially amongst female members who regard him with a vast distaste.
However they are likely to be the second or third preferences of many. By making it a three way race and dividing the first preference votes, it increases the probability of of no candidate getting an outright majority on the first preference.
But more importantly in a 3 way race of the type expected, then Jones is likely to be eliminated on the first round. If people who voted for him gave their second preference to overwhelmingly to one or the other of the candidates – for instance Robertson, then this would enhance his chances of winning the next round on second preference votes. The way to do this is to make absolutely clear who the preferred alternate candidate of one of the other candidates was. Electorally this would be a effectively way of dragging “smoko room” votes to join to beltway votes.
Tiresomely obvious to crusty old Labour party members and in my view worthy only of those strange political contests in universities rather than real politics. But I’d guess that does define many of the political jonolists looking for a nice story and for whom it is targeted – but I’m a old cynic.