How did the second most preferred first pick win the referendum?

stuff.co.nz

We asked nzstuff Snapchat followers their thoughts on the potential changing of the flag.

Fewer people named it as their top pick, but somehow Kyle Lockwood's Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) has reigned supreme. 

In first preference votes, Lockwood's second design Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) beat the overall winner, pulling 574,364 votes while Black, White and Blue version hung 20,000 behind on 552,827. 

So how exactly did the second most popular option end up taking out the referendum? 

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood is the preliminary winner of the flag referendum.
HAGEN HOPKINS / GETTY IMAGES

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood is the preliminary winner of the flag referendum.

Through the magic of preferential voting.

READ MORE:
Flag referendum: Does the result deliver John Key a mandate for change? 
Winning New Zealand flag design: Your views 
John Key reveals which flag design he's most keen on 
Q+A: How the flag voting process works 
Flag referendum: Where does the $26 million go? 
The best, weirdest, most interesting flag changes through history

Remember the annoying task of ranking votes? That's what it all came down to. 

The final two flags: Your views

Share your stories, photos and videos.

The winner on the night wasn't who got the highest percentage of the vote. 

In preferential voting, that would have only happened if any single flag had more than 50 per cent off the bat.

So when Red, White and Blue only managed 42 per cent of the total valid first picks, the referendum was pushed into a second count. 

What that meant is, the voters of the least preferred first pick had their votes reallocated. 

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Andrew Fyfe's Koru had only 51,879 number 1 picks, coming in last. 

So Koru's votes gets knocked out, and all the voters who put Koru as their number 1 then have their number 2 ranks upgraded to their number 1, redistributing votes to the other flags. 

In round two, Black, White and Blue finds favour with Koru flag backers. 

It picks up an extra 4,985 votes while Red, White and Blue gets an extra 4,142. 

But in total votes accumulated, Black, White and Blue is still trailing - 557,812 to 578,506. 

So we head into round three. 

In this round, it's the 77,802 fans of Alofi Kanter's Silver Fern (Black and White) that have their initial votes scrapped and their second picks moved up to first place. 

Here, Black, White and Blue gains massive ground, with an extra 47,842 votes. 

Red, White and Blue doesn't manage even half of that with only 22,305. 

At this point, Black, White and Blue is finally in the lead with an overall 605,654 votes to Red, White and Blue's 600,811. 

Black, White and Blue is winning, but barely and only with 44 per cent of the vote. 

So we go to round four. 

The 119, 672 Red Peak voters that see their first votes wiped. 

Their second picks become their first. Black, White and Blue adds 56,506 votes. Red, White and Blue get 47,484 more. 

Cumulatively, Black, White and Blue has now been pushed over the winner's threshold with 662,160 progressive first pick votes putting it at 50.53 per cent. 

Red, White and Blue lags behind with 648,295 votes, or 49.47 per cent of the vote.

And it's all over. 

 - Stuff

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