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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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Won by One

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 the preferendum suitable for all decision-making situations?

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No. If the subject matter is non-contentious, then by all means use a majority vote. On controversial topics, however, and especially on those occasions when someone(s) object(s) to the use of a majority vote, then it is better to use a preferendum.

What’s more, some questions are two-optional, and on such occasions a for-or-against majority vote is indeed ok . In politics, as in life itself, however, most questions are actually multi-optional – if, that is, the question is asked correctly! “Capital punishment, yes-or-no?” is the wrong question; the better way is to ask, “How shall we deal with the convicted murderer?”

In general, then, the only questions which are definitely yes-or-no apply to situations when a country is joining an existing organisation, as when Bulgaria, for example, joins the eu .

Interestingly enough, the only country ever to hold a referendum on what might appear to be a two-option question – “Which side of the road shall we drive on?” – actually had three options on the ballot paper. Sweden, 1955.

Last updated on September 19, 2008 by Deborda