Monday, December 07, 2015

I Voted, Part One

Today I posted my vote in New Zealand’s first flag referendum. I wasn’t able to get to it until today in part because I was very busy last week, but also because I was having trouble making up my mind. But, as always, I did vote.

Time to vote!
The photo above is of the five flags flying (it’s a screen grab from the official video of the Flag Consideration Project; I last shared it in a mid-November post). The flags are always listed in that order—on all advertising and on the ballot itself.

Our task was to rank the flags 1 to 5, using the Preferential Vote method. Here’s how it works, according to the official description on the Elections NZ website:
You can rank as many or as few flag options as you wish, but you shouldn’t skip a number or use the same number more than once. You can see examples of correctly completed voting papers at the bottom of this page.

If one flag option gets fifty percent or more of all the first preference votes (that is votes marked "1") it will be selected on the first count.

If no flag option gets fifty percent or more of the first preference votes, the flag with the least number “1” votes is dropped and its votes go to the flag each voter ranked next. This continues until one flag gets fifty percent or more of the valid votes.
Some people won’t rank all five, for a variety of reasons, though skipping some flags doesn’t really help a voter’s preferred choice. Because the winning flag will be the first one to pass the 50 percent threshold, it’s highly unlikely that ranking a flag as fifth could end up helping that flag win, though ranking a flag second or third might.

I won’t say how I ended up ranking the five flags, since voting is still open. Turns out, it’s not even possible to work out my choices by what I said previously on social media. So, there’s still some mystery.

Posting my completed ballot.
However, part of my final decision, especially for the flag I ranked dead last, was how they look hanging limp on a flagpole. The reality is that all flags look their best when flying in the wind, as in the photo up top, but there are plenty of times when that doesn’t happen—not just still days, but also on a poll standing on a stage behind a politician, for example.

At the bottom of this post (click to embiggen) is a grouping of all five flags limp on their poles (the photos are taken from the NZ Flag Consideration Project, which helpfully provides many in-context photos of the five alternative flags). The order is the same as the official order, so I’m not indicating a preference.

And that’s that for now. Next year we’ll choose between whatever design wins this referendum and the current New Zealand flag. There’s no way of knowing how long it’ll take to announce the results of this referendum, but of course I’ll blog about that, too.

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