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!


Vienna TEDx Talk - October 2017

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


2012-5: Tommy Sands interview.

Tommy Sands broadcast a full one-hour interview with Peter Emerson on his programme Country Ceili on Downtown Radio.  It's on http://www.yousendit.com/download/QlVpNU1OR0ZtMEp2Zk1UQw 


2012-4: Video of Defining Democracy launch

Youtube video of the House of Lord launch of Defining Democracy with Lord Ashdown.  And here's part of what was said at the Belfast launch: http://audioboo.fm/boos/740716-peter-emerson-talking-after-launch-of-his-book-on-decision-making-voting-procedures

(See also 2012-3.)


2012-3: President Michael D Higgins

On Friday 10th February in Áras an Uachtaráin, Peter Emerson presented Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland, with a copy of his latest work, Defining Democracy.  The delegation included members of both the de Borda Institute and the New Ireland Group, as seen here.


2012-2: Ashgate Research... to War

The above anthology includes one chapter from the de Borda Institute: Majority rule - a cause of war?  The book was published in February, 2012.  See www.ashgate.com


2012-1: Scotland's Referendum

Both the British and the Scottish Governments have published papers on the proposed referendum.  Both want either one and/or two majority votes.  Neither talk about preference voting.  So we have responded: this one is to Edinburgh, and here's the London one.

(See also 2014-12, 2013-15, 2012-10 and 2011-1.)


2011-9: Defining Democracy - launch

Defining Democracy was launched in the House of Lords on Tues. 31st January 2012 by Lord Paddy Ashdown, Lord Mike Boyce, Prof. Elizabeth Meehan and Tommy Sands.  The book is now on-line at


"An extraordinary and quite remarkable conucopia indexof available [voting] systems." Paddy Ashdown.

(See also 2012-14/4/3.)


2011-8: The original BC and partial voting

The de Borda Institute has long since advocated the Modified Borda Count (MBC), but maybe this is what Jean-Charles de Borda had actually wanted. Social Choice and Welfare has now published the above, and it's available online on http://www.springerlink.com/content/k476366236x10402/

2011-7: Polish Green Network

"Towards a More Inclusive Democracy" is part of an anthology - Food and Democracy - edited by Marcin Gerwin and published by the Polish Green Network. And here it is.

2011-6: The latest on the Matrix Vote

I presented a paper to the EPSU conference in Dublin on why the matrix vote is so important, and here it is.  It includes a modification to the ideas published in Voting Matters No 29, and this improvement is in this brief extract.

(See also 2012-7 and 2011-5.)


2011-5: The Matrix Vote

The Iraqi parliament took 249 days of embattled negotiations to form a government; a world record (which has now been captured by the Belgians).  With a matrix vote, it could have all been done in a forenoon. The Matrix Vote: Electing an all-party Coalition Cabinet is published in Voting Matters, No 29, and is available here.

(See also 2012-7 and 2011-6.)