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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? > What happens in an mbc if people vote for only some, or only one option?

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In a 5-option ballot paper, if I vote for only my favourite option, my favourite gets just 1 point.

If you vote for 2 options, your favourite gets 2 points and your 2nd preference gets 1 point.

If a third person votes for 3 options, his favourite gets 3 points, his 2nd preference gets 2 points, and his 3rd preference gets 1 point.

If a fourth person votes for 4 options, her favourite gets 4 points, her 2nd preference gets 3 points, her 3rd preference gets 2 points, and her 4th preference gets 1 point.

So, if you want your favourite to get the maximum score of 5 points, the best thing to do is to cast all your preferences.

In other words, your favourite (if stated) gets 1 point more than your 2nd preference (whether stated or not); your 2nd preference (if stated) gets 1 point more than your 3rd preference (whether stated or not); and so on. No one is forcing you to express all your preference, but the system encourages you to do so. And no matter how you vote, the difference is always 1 point; there is no especial weighting or any other form of bias in the procedures.

Last updated on September 19, 2008 by Deborda