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Mulit-option and Preferential Referendums

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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 decision-making and even more electoral systems.  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!


What's New?


2016-14 Ireland, the 8th amendment

This is our submission to the Citizens' Assembly


2016-13 Canada

Canada is reviewing its electoral system, so hopefully they will use multi-option voting and include QBS.  And then maybe the US will follow suit?  See 2016-12.


2016-12 Brexit and Trump

Under majority rule, if there's a win for populism  -  Trump, Le Pen, whoever  -  then democracy will have failed.  The need for a more consensual polity could not be greater!  Hence this press release, next this letter in The Guardian, 11th Nov, and then these analyses of the US election and Trump, what a silly, dangerous nonsense and if only there had been at least some PR.

Brexit. The argument now is not 'remain' v 'leave', but another dichotomy - (of course) - 'soft' v 'hard'. These two adjectives also described the split in the All Russian Congress of Social Democrat, in London in 1903. They voted, binary - (again of course, just like us). The 'hard' wing won, by 19 to 17, with 3 abstentions. (So no side had 50%.) Nevertheless, Lenin called his side the majority, bolshinstvo, and its members the Bolsheviks. And the losers, the minority, menshinstvo, were the Mensheviks. Will history repeat itself? Will the brexiteers now split?


2016-11 Mosul

The right of self-determination is usually interpreted to be by a majoritty vote.  You choose your border, adjusting as necesary to ensure you have a majority, and then maybe you have a referendum.  The rut started in Northern Ireland - the border in 1920, the poll in 1973.  Then came the Balkans, the Caucasus, East Timor and South Sudan, i.e., yet more violence, everywhere.  If various bits of Iraq like Mosul or Kirkuk are to suffer the same fate, or Kashmir, or Taiwan and then Xīnjiāng, or some Moslem/Christian states in Nigeria or similar parts of the CAR or various regions in the DRC - the list goes on and on - God help us!  


2016-10 Spain, more majoritarian nonsense...

313 days of argument and bickering to form a majority government; they fail; OK, a minority administration will have to do.  Meanwhile, the West argues for Syria and Ukraine to have power-sharing.  See 'The Matrix Vote' in right-hand column. See 2016-5.