Voices & Choices

Multi-winner RCV sends three Northern Irish women to the European Parliament

Multi-winner RCV sends three Northern Irish women to the European Parliament

On May 23, voters in Northern Ireland made history when they elected an all-women delegation to the European Parliament.

With 11 candidates vying for three seats, representative results could have suffered under a single-choice, winner-take-all or top-two electoral system. But thanks to the jurisdiction’s use of multi-winner RCV, referred to there as the single transferable vote, voters could express their views without the fear of split votes, drops in voter turnout between rounds, or a slim majority locking out all opposing viewpoints.

Northern Ireland was represented in the previous European Parliament by members of three different parties. One poll shortly before election day looked at likely vote transfers, asserting the two incumbents would be reelected and that a “strong favourite” had emerged from among the other contenders. This poll proved correct, with the third seat going to the leader of the Alliance party, a first in the group’s history.

Despite the continued uncertainty regarding the jurisidiction’s future relationship with its European neighbors, multi-winner RCV allowed voters from Northern Ireland to vote with the confidence that their voices would be heard, and the results of the election reflective of their many diverse communities.

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