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).


2011-2: The Middle East

In pursuing a policy of democratisation, Egypt and Tunisia etc., should not adopt a form of governance based on majority rule; as per our letter in today's Guardian, 3.2.2011, an edited version of this original. A more detailed paper warns of the dangers of an adversarial structure, and suggests instead a more consensual one: it is attached here. (See also 2013-8.)

2011-1: The Next Scottish Referendum

The Next Scottish Referendum has just been published in Scottish Affairs, (No. 73, autumn 2010).

(See also 2014-12, 2013-15 and 2012-13/1.)


2010-7: Tariq Aziz and majority voting - The Guardian

The Guardian published an interview with Tariq Aziz on 6th Aug, and this de Borda response on 9th.  They gave it the following headline: "Majority voting and the fate of Iraq."


2010-6: QBS

Proportionality without Transference: the merits of the Quota Borda System (QBS)  is in the latest copy of Representation, Vol 46 No 2, July 2010: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2010.485820



2010-5: Coalition government

Exciting times, and the Guardian published this letter on 11th May.


2010-4: Scottish referendum

The de Borda submission is here.  (See also 2014-12, 2013-15, 2012-13/10/1 and 2011/1.)


2010-3: Designing an All-Inclusive Democracy

Designing an All-Inclusive Democracy, ed. Peter Emerson, Springer, 2007.

Don Saari has written a review for Social Choice and Welfare: it is on



2010-2: Party Politics in the Western Balkans

The above book, jointly edited by Věra Stojarová and Peter Emerson, is published by Routledge.


2010-1: Decision-making on the web

Our latest work, the result of an experiment on decision-making conducted entirely - both debate and vote - on the web, is published by EPS.  More details on


A synopsis of the trial is on the following openDemocracy webpage.


2009-6: Electing an all-party coalition.

On 7.10.2009, the de Borda Institute hosted an open public meeting in Dublin, to see if the Dail could elect a power-sharing cabinet, with TDs choosing not only those who would serve in government, but also the particular department in which each successful Minister would serve.  The original invitation is here.

Participants were split into various groups, one each to represent FF, FG, Labour, Independents, GP and SF.  And each group was given a fixed number of ballot papers, in proportion to current party strengths in the Dail: 20, 14, 5, 2, 2 and 1 respectively, a total of 44 ballots.  The matrix vote is based on QBS and the MBC.  So it was to everyone's advantage to submit a full ballot - i.e., to cast all their preferences - and to do so on a cross-party basis.  Thus, in the simulation, groups planned strategies amongst themselves, and then negotiated deals with others. 

The outcome was as follows: FF 6, FG 5, Lab 2, Ind 0, GP 1, SF 1 - a proportional, all-party, power-sharing coalition cabinet, a GNU.  In other words, the matrix vote is indeed a robust voting procedure, and it all works without any resort to party labels.  A full report along with the results are here. 

(See also 2012-7 and 2011-6/5.)