I was reviewing the election returns for the Edinburgh City Council. Edinburgh is divided into 17 wards, each of which returns 3 or 4 council members. Local councilors all over Scotland are elected using Single Transferable Voting.
In most of the wards, the 3 or 4 candidates with the most first preferences were elected. In three wards (Wards 14, 16, and 17), this was not true -- and in each case, it was the Conservative candidate who lost by not getting enough transfers from other parties.
Let's take a look at Ward 17 (Portobello/Craigmillar). You probably ought to print out the "All preferences" spreadsheet so you can follow along. The candidate with the most first preferences was Bridgman (the sole SNP candidate). About 1/3 of his ballots had no additional preferences. The two candidates receiving the most transfers from Bridgeman's surplus were Child (Labour) and McColl (Green). Each of these parties agrees on a lot of issues with the SNP, so the transfers were not that surprising.
But let's look at the end of the count. The top three candidates were Bridgeman (SNP), Child (Labor), and Miller (Conservative). Child picks up enough transfers from eliminated candidates to be elected, but Miller does not get elected. The third position goes to Hawkins (Liberal Democrat) who was behind Miller on first preference votes. What made the difference? Miller received very few transfers, but Hawkins picked up a good number of votes in the Stage 6 exclusion of Circi (Liberal -- not Liberal Democrat), the Stage 10 exclusion of Burns (Independent), and the Stage 12 exclusion of McColl (Green).
In contrast, Miller received only dribbles of votes from excluded candidates' transfers.
Another thing to note about the Edinburgh council elections is the diversity of representation in each ward. Only in a few wards are there more than one councilor from the same party: Ward 3 (2 of 3 are LibDems), Ward 6 (2 of 3 are LibDems), Ward 7 (2 of 4 are Labour), Ward 8 (2 of 3 are Conservative), and Ward 16 (2 of 4 are Labour).