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

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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!


Vienna TEDx Talk - October 2017

Here's the YouTube,  the PowerPoint, and the text of the speech (more or less).


2013-15: Scotland's white paper, 26.11.2013

If a sports competition between Man. Utd. (independence), Man. City (devo. max) and Liverpool (status quo) were to be played as the Scottish referendum is to be conducted, and if the games were organised by a Manchunian, then Man. Utd. might play Liverpool in round one.  If Man. Utd. won, they'd win the contest.  If not, Liverpool would then have to play Man. City, and the winner of this second match would be the champion.

In other words, the whole thing has been fixed so that independence is given the best chance of success.  In a word, it is a nonsense.

In 1997, the SNP wanted a three-option vote.  But both Tony Blair and David Cameron like binary, majority voting in decision-making, as did Napoleon (1804), Lenin (1903), Mussolini (1929), Hitler (1933), and several others, Duvalier, Pinochet, Gaddafi, Khomeini, et al.
Multi-option voting has been successful in many countries - New Zealand, for example, held a five-option ballot in 1992 - and such ballots are far more likely to qualify as meeting the highest international standards.
Accordingly, a more accurate and therefore more democratic instrument of decision-making would be a three-option vote, the winner being that option which gained the highest average preference.  And an average, of course, involves every voter, not just a majority.
(See also 2014-12, 2013-15, 2012-13/10/1 and 2011-1.)




2013-14: Journal of Dialogue Studies

The first ever issue of this journal includes an article from the de Borda Institute.  



2013-13: China 天津, 南京

The de Borda Institute ran an MBC experiment in the Zhou Enlai School of Government of Nankai University and, as so often happens, the MBC social ranking was the same as that from the Condorcet rule.  The analysis is available from the menu on the right hand side of this home page.

A similar exercise was conducted in Nanjing University on 18th Nov.

(See also 2014-13/11 and 2013-11.)


2013-12: Dublin City Council - a record

On 2nd Sept, 51 councillors of Dublin City Council (DCC) used a Borda Count (BC) or Modified Borda Count (MBC) to name a new bridge over the Liffey, the Rosie Hackett bridge.  As far as is known, this is the first time that DCC, or any elected chamber in Ireland, North or South, has used a Borda methodology in decision-making.  An initial analysis is attached, as too is a full report by Prof. John Baker  The bridge is due to be opened on 20.5.2014.  

(See also 2014-9.)



2013-11: China: 长春、徐州和西安。

At the Global Economic Leaders' Summit, Changchun,长春, 2013.9.4-6, the de Borda Institute - 德博达研究所 - gave the attached talk and power-point presentation.  Then, in Xuzhou 徐州, on 2013.9.18, there was another talk and presentation.  A similar contribution was given to the Low Carbon Earth Summit in Xi'an 西安 on 2013.9.27. 

(See also 2014-13/11 and 2013/16/13/11)




2013-10: Ireland Referendums

This letter - http://www.irishtimes.com/debate/letters/options-in-referendums-1.1483085 - was published in The Irish Times on 5th Aug.


2013-9: Beijing Law Review

Democratic Rights: Decision-Making by Law Makers and Law Enforcers, was published in BLR Vol 4 No 2 2013.  It's open access on http://www.scirp.org/journal/blr/

(See also 2014-13/11.)


2013-8: Egypt

Adversarial voting procedures, as in Egypt's constitutional referendum, have not helped the revolution.  This letter was published in The Guardian on 3.7.2013.


2013-7: "Peace-ful" Voting Procedures

Some voting systems are adversarial and Orwellian; and some of these lead to war: majority voting in Bosnia, first-past-the-post in Kenya, etc..  Other voting systems are win-win, and the above article has just been published in Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy.  See:



2013-6: The Friend

This article, Consensus Voting, has just been published in the Quaker journal, The Friend, Vol. 171 No 24.