CollegiateLink has the ability to create elections using single vote, multiple choice, and even ranking formats. It will also automatically tabulate votes and determine winners for elections. Run-off voting can be conducted using new races/elections. Institutions interested in an instant runoff method of result calculation can use CollegiateLink to collect votes and then process these externally. It is possible to conduct an instant runoff manually using CollegiateLink's ranking question format (and with the aid of a spreadsheet application), though this approach is not recommended as mistakes could be made by the person or persons manually calculating the results.
Some institutions have utilized a program call OpenSTV to automatically calculate winners in an instant runoff election that was run through CollegiateLink (Please note that Campus Labs does not expressly endorse its usage nor have any relationship with the vendor).
* OpenSTV migrated from an open source licensing scheme to a proprietary scheme in 2011. The last open source (free) version of the software is being hosted on Github.
The basic steps of conducting an IRV election in CollegiateLink and processing the results in OpenSTV are as follows:
- Design an election using ballots with the "Ranking" question type for each question that will use the IRV method for tabulation
- Execute the election
- Download the election results files
- Separate each race into it's own spreadsheet file
- If necessary, clean any special characters from the results (! @ # $ % ^ ' - , etc.) *
- Delete rows 1-3 (File title on row 1, blank row 2, and column headers on row 3)
- Delete column A (the CollegiateLink Submission ID numbers)
- Save the file as a tab-delimited .TXT file (in Excel, select "Text (Tab delimited) (*.txt)")
- Run OpenSTV
- From "File" select "Run Election"
- Enter the appropriate settings for your election/calculation method
- Run the election calculations
* Please note that as of version 2.1.0, OpenSTV's text file method of calculating results does not support the inclusion of spaces in Candidate names so you will need to either remove them from the CollegiateLink ballot files before processing them with OpenSTV.
* Different methods of instant runoff voting specify different thresholds for winning an election (e.g., plurality wins, first to 51% wins, etc.)--be sure you decide on your threshold in advance of processing your files.
For more information about Instant Runoff Voting: