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A blog: " De Borda abroad."  A journey to China. Starting in Vienna with a TEDx talk, I go by bus and/or train for more debates in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Istanbul, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Tehran, before flying - sorry about that - to Urumqi in Xīnjiāng. But in every city, I have my little fold-up Brompton - the best way of exploring any new venue! It's all on:




Mulit-option and Preferential Referendums

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Inclusive voting app 




The Hospital for Incurable Protestants

The Mémoire of a Collapsed Catholic

 This is the story of a pacifist in a conflict zone, in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.  Only in e-format, but only £5.15.  Available from Amazon.



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The de Borda Institute aims to promote the use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice.

This applies specifically to decision-making, be it for the electorate in regional/national polls, for their elected representatives in councils and parliaments, for members of a local community group, for members of a company board, for members of a co-operative, and so on.




The director alongside the statue of Jean-Charles de Borda, capitaine et savant, in l’École Navale in Brest, 24.9.2010. Photo by Gwenaelle Bichelot. 

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Welcome to the home page of the de Borda Institute, a Northern Ireland-based international organisation (an NGO) which aims to promote the use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice. For more information use the menu options above or feel free to contact the organisation's headquarters. If you want to check the meaning of any of the terms used, then by all means have a look at this glossary.

As shown in these attachments, there are many decision-making and even more electoral systems.  Sometimes, for any one voters' profile - that is, the set of all their preferences - the outcome of any count may well depend on the voting procedure used.  In this very simple example of a few voters voting on just four options, and in these two hypothetical examples on five, (word document) or (power-point) in which a few cast their preferences on five options, the profiles are analysed according to different methodologies, and the winner could be any one of all the options.  Yet all of these methodologies are called democratic!  Extraordinary!

FAQ on > What is a Preferendum? > Is a preferendum mathematically ok?

Search the FAQ for entries containing:

Nothing is perfect. Something called Arrow’s ‘Impossibility Theorem’ is a complicated piece of mathematics which proves that there is no such thing as a perfect voting system, something which, no matter what the preferences of the voters, will always give “the will of the people”.

Of those voting systems which are good, the mbc and Condorcet are the best, and not least because they are the only systems which take account of all the preferences cast

The mbc (preferendum) is not proportional, which is why, in an election, it is better to use qbs or a matrix vote. Also, the preferendum suffers from something called the irrelevant alternative. In a five option poll on options A, B, C, D and E, option C might be the most popular. But if the same people voted with exactly the same preferences on a four-option ballot of options A, B, C, and D, then maybe B could be the most popular. This is why it is very important to have a specific procedure for choosing the options, as above in answer No 3.

Last updated on September 19, 2008 by Deborda