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/



Mulit-option and Preferential Referendums

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Inclusive voting app 




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).


2017-13 Dutch courage

Bingo, the Netherlands now have a government, after (only) 225 days.  A Dutch record; the world record is still held by Belgium, at 451 days.  Here's the graph.  With a matrix vote, it could all haver been done in less than a week. See 2016-16 and 2016-10.


2017-12 Catalonia

"Let's recover our common sense," said the white-clothed folk in Catalonia/Spain. So let's have preferential voting: a letter in The Guardian.


2017-11 Citizens' Assembly 

The Citizens' Assembly prefers to be consistently inconsistent.   https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/voting-system-of-citizens-assembly-may-distort-says-analysis-1.3248530    See 2016-14.


2017-10 Problems of political patronage 

Ministers support Theresa May.  Well they would, wouldn't they.  If, however, she did not select, but MPs elected the cabinet... our latest press release.


2017-9 Whipped Votes and Fake News

x% of Party A, and x'% of Party B, vote 'for'; y% of A and y'% of B vote 'against. A > B, so A has the majority, applies the whip, and wins. But maybe y + y' > x + x'.  Hence this press release in the Irish News of 8th Sept.  See also 2017-1 and 2016-12.


2017-8 Mongolia - presidential elections

ODIHR, oh dear, OH DEAR!  ODIHR does not discuss electoral systems.  But to observe a Mongolian (or any other) election without talking about the voting procedure is like talking about Mongolian cuisine without mentioning meat.  Here's another view.


2017-7 UK elections, government

Total number of seats                         =          650

so a majority                            =          326

A         Tories              =          318

B         Lab                  =          262

C         SNP                 =            35

D         LD                   =            12

E          DUP                =            10

F          SF                    =             7

G         PC                   =              4

H         GP                   =              1

For those who believe in majority rule, a minimal majority coalition government could be either:

A + B, or A + C, or A + D, or A + E, or A + F + G or ...

B + C + D + E + F + G, or B + C + D + E + F + H

and in majoritarian democratic theory, any one of these seven combinations is only totally democratic.




2017-6 The Will of the People

The Will of the People: A Critique of (Simple or Weighted) Majority Voting.  In OJPS, 2017, Vol. 7, 311-325.

http://file.scirp.org/pdf/OJPS_2017042816243705.pdf    (See also 2017-1 and 2016-12.)


2017-5 The BB(we'll)C

Yes yes, we'll debate majority voting, perhaps, sometime, well maybe.  See also 2016-7.


2017-4 FPTP = Fake Post-Truth Polling

Should FPTP, First-Past-The-Post, be re-named as Fake Post-Truth Polling?  After all, there is no post!  To win a two-candidate contest requires 50% + 1 of the valid vote.  With ten or more candidates, success could depend on just 10% + 1, and the world record is held by Papua New Guinea where a candidate was elected by less than 5%.  So maybe 95% thought this ‘winner' was the worst!  In a word, FPTP can be hopelessly inaccurate.  So the sensible folk in PNG have now changed their electoral system to a form of preferential voting.  Would that the UK system was also fair. (Published in local NI media.)