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## Monday, 01 June, 2009

### Elections And Rounding

(with comments)

In Massachusetts: Truro zoning decision hinges on single vote.

In a vote of 136 to 70, voters passed a new time limit on how quickly a cottage colony, cabin colony, motel or hotel can be converted to condominiums. The new limit requires that those properties be in operation for three years before being converted to condominiums.

And here comes the math:

The exact count of the vote - 136 to 70 -had town officials hitting their calculators yesterday. The zoning measure needed a two-thirds vote to pass. A calculation by town accountant Trudy Brazil indicated that 136 votes are two-thirds of 206 total votes, said Town Clerk Cynthia Slade.

Brazil said she used the calculation of .66 multiplied by 206 to obtain the number.

But using .6666 - a more accurate version of two-thirds - the affirmative vote needed to be 137 instead of 136, according to an anonymous caller to town hall and to the Times.

Slade said that she called several of her colleagues to see how they calculate a two-thirds vote, and the answer varied widely. In Provincetown, Town Clerk Doug Johnstone uses .66.

I'd say they need 138 votes to pass. Two-thirds of 206 is 137.3333333. Since nobody can actually cast 1/3 of a vote, it requires an additional vote beyond 137.

- .67 would be much more accurate than .66 But why approximate? 2/3 is 2/3.
- By
**Jon Anderson**. Comment posted 01-Jun-2009 @05:34pm:I agree - and it worries me that the accountant doesn't understand how to use fractions. - By
**Dee**. Comment posted 01-Jun-2009 @06:28pm:**

"..Town Clerk Cynthia Slade.."

(not an accountant....)

2/3 is correct multiplier and 138 is the correct answer.

** - By
**Jon Anderson**. Comment posted 01-Jun-2009 @06:40pm:A calculation by town accountant Trudy Brazil indicated that 136 votes are two-thirds of 206 total votes, said Town Clerk Cynthia Slade.

(an accountant...) - By
**Phred**. Comment posted 01-Jun-2009 @07:45pm:Another way to look at it:

You could say that a 2/3 majority means that it passes if twice as many voters voted "for" the measure as voted "against" the measure. (2/3 is twice 1/3)

And since 70 voted "against" it, you would need 140 "for" votes to pass it, you had 136, so it fails.

Looking from the other side, if 136 voted "for", then you would need 68 "against" to fail it, you had 70, so again it fails.

Bisbonian. Comment posted 01-Jun-2009 @05:13pm: