About us


A blog: " De Borda abroad."  From Belfast to Beijing and beyond... and back. Starting in Vienna with the 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, followed by more debates in Beijing, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Taiwan... but not in Pyongyang. Then back via Mongolia (where I was an election observer last year) and Moscow (where I worked in the '80s).

I have my little fold-up Brompton with me - surely the best way of exploring any new city! So I fly hardly at all; I go by train, boat or bus if possible, and then cycle wherever in each new venue; and all with just one plastic water bottle... or that was the intention!

The story is on:  https://debordaabroad.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/de-borda-abroad/


Inclusive voting app 



(Currently under re-construction.)


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.



About us

Visit us on Facebook

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. 

Powered by Squarespace
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 voting procedures for use in decision-making and even more electoral systems.  This is because, in decision-making, there is usually only one outcome; but with some electoral systems, as in any proportional ones, there can be several winners.  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!

« 2019-15 Everything on the table? An MBC? | Main | 2019-13 A Brexit Solution - a 'preferendum' »

2019-14 Imagine, an old Brexit solution.

PRESS  RELEASE  --  EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 on 4th May, 2019, his birthday.

JEAN-CHARLES DE BORDA, “Capitaine et Savant,” 4.5.1733 – 19.2.1799, versus the world’s first ‘DEMOCRATIC DICTATOR’

Imagine, if the 2011 referendum on the UK’s electoral system had been a multi-option ‘preferendum’ on five options – as was the 1992 New Zealand vote on their electoral system: FPTP, PR-STV and three in the middle – the UK like NZ would probably now have PR; (NZ has ½ FPTP and ½ PR-list).

So imagine, the 2015 elections would have been fairer, with fewer Tories and fewer DUP (and SF), but more Greens, Lib-Dems and UKIP.  So no Tory majority.  So a coalition government, probably not with UKIP (the Tories’ main rival) but with the Lib-Dems again. 

So imagine, no Brexit referendum, at all!  Or, if there had been such a ballot…

… imagine a multi-option referendum on, say, three options – “The UK in the EU, the EEA or the WTO?” – like the three-option poll Westminster ‘gave’ to Newfoundland in 1948.  On possibly 48% again, ‘remain’ could have won!  At the very least, a debate on the various options – customs union etc. – could have taken place before the vote! 

So imagine, if our 2011 and 2016 referendums had catered for pluralism, like the world’s first multi-option referendum in 1894 in NZ, Finland’s in 1931, Uruguay’s of 1958, Australia’s 1977…


Not unlike Ramón Llull (‘Spain’) in 1199 and Nicholas Cusanus (‘Germany’) in 1435, in 1770 Jean-Charles de Borda (France) invented the Modified Borda Count, MBC.  It was presented to l’Académie des Sciences in 1784, just five years before the French Revolution, and adopted in 1796.

Napoléon Bonaparte, however, didn’t like this ‘consensus stuff’ and in 1804, l’Académie (by now re-named l’Institut Français), reverted to majority voting.  France then had a third binary referendum and thus Napoléon became Emperor, the world’s first ‘democratic dictator’.  Mussolini, Hitler, Duvalier, Gaddafi… and the rest is history, which continues to repeat itself.


MPs with their ‘indicative (sic) and other (sick) votes’ in parliament, and the Electoral Commission with its binary referendums, along with rulers like Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, also believe in majority voting.  It suits them: they choose the question; and – well, usually – the question is the answer.  Alas, both Westminster and the otherwise meticulously independent EC have consistently refused to consider the practicality and accuracy of multi-option, preferential voting.

BUT NOW, JUST IMAGINE, a Brexit solution: not a second binary, but a preferential referendum with say five options, i.e., something for (almost) everybody.  Joyeux Anniversaire, Jean-Charles!



PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend