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.



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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 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!

« 2019-14 Imagine, an old Brexit solution. | Main | 2019-12 Indicative Votes - Preferential »

2019-13 A Brexit Solution - a 'preferendum'

I           THE PROPOSAL                 At some future date, the UK should hold a multi-option ‘second’ referendum on perhaps the following five options:

a)         in the EU and the € zone;

b)         in the EU with the £;

c)         in a Common Market 2.0;

d)         in a Customs Union;

e)         under the WTO.

II         BACKGROUND                   New Zealand had a multi-option referendum in 1992; the parliament first tasked an independent commission to produce the options, and it identified five.  Other countries – e.g., Finland, Sweden and Australia – have also used ‘preferendums’.

III        COMPROMISE                    As was seen in 2016, binary voting can be divisive; secondly, as in the indicative votes, it can be inconclusive.  More importantly, any second referendum of only two-options could be seen as unfair by supporters of any excluded options.  In a preferential poll, in contrast, everyone may participate, stating not only their favourite 1st preference, but also, if they wish, their 2nd and/or subsequent preferences, their compromise option(s).

IV        INCLUSIVITY                      The list of options should be balanced and, as in NZ, the final choice of options must be made by an independent authority.  As a general principle, however, this final list should reflect the range of options ‘on the table’ and, given the 48:52 result of the 2016 referendum, the ratio of 2:3 for EU:non-EU options shown in para I above is probably fair.

V         THE COUNT                                    Preferential votes may be counted in many ways.  NZ used a two-round method, as did the UK in a 3-option plebiscite in Newfoundland in 1948.  The single transferable vote, STV, is another possibility, but the modified Borda count, MBC, and the Condorcet rule “are the two best interpretations of majority rule.”  (Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics, 2003, Iain McLean, p 139.)


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