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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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!

« 2019-25 Rights (and Wrongs) of Majority Rule | Main | 2019-23 Participatory Budgeting »

2019-24 A letter in the Irish Times

Sir, – The Irish and British electoral systems are very different: PR-STV (a British invention) is one of the best. First-past-the-post (FPTP) is its extreme opposite.  But we both have the same decision-making system: binary voting, one of the worst. Michael Laver points out its paradox: when there’s no majority for anything, there’s a majority against everything (“In game of Brexit chicken, Boris Johnson driving a Mini, Brussels is driving a bus, Opinion, August 15th).
But party politics is also a problem: it seems the first priority of Cameron, May and now Johnson, was/is to preserve the Tory Party. In any FPTP two-party system, the big party on either side wants a monopoly.  The Tories don’t want Ukip or its successor, the Brexit Party; hence the 2016 referendum; hence now the rush to “no deal”.
If these leaders and/or their Labour counterparts believed in pluralism, they would advocate a multi-option approach: there are after all at least three options, “remain”, the deal, and the WTO. But they want two-party politics, so they stick to binary voting. Prof Laver suggests log-rolling, but that too is binary. 
Sadly, the UK’s Electoral Commission has yet to embrace preferential points voting, which identifies the option with the highest average preference . . . and an average, of course, involves every voter, not just a majority of them. 
At best, therefore, such an outcome would be society’s collective will, its most acceptable compromise – a very democratic solution. – Yours……….


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