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

Please sign the petition



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).


2017-2 Deliberative Democracy

If the sample is good enough, the list of options thorough enough, and the consensus coefficient of the outcome high enough, the result should perhaps be binding.



2017-1 Brexit wrecks it

In February last year, we said if the brexit vote is to be, "EU, yes or no?" ('remain' or 'leave'), the answer will probably be 'no'.  And this year, another press release, we try again... and another.  Hence this piece:   See 2016-12.


2016-16 Let the Dáil Elect the Government. 


The full report of the Ballymun experiment, (see 2016-5 and 2016-3), is on page 56 of the Irish Journal of Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability, IJSEES, 2017, Vol 1,  1.  (See also 2012-7 and 2011-5/6.)



2016-15 Italy & USA, bad voting systems

As in brexit, the Italian referendum asks the wrong question. Hence this press release.  Meanwhile, openDemocracy has published this on majoritarianism and its consequence: Trump.




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.

Oh dear, Trudeau has changed his mind: Canada is not reviewing its electoral system.  A superb chance to influence the US and the latter's crazy system has been lost!


2016-12 Brexit and Trump

Under majority rule, a win for populism  -  Trump, Le Pen, whoever  -  means democracy has 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.  (See also 2016-9.)

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.


2016-9 David Cameron, the 3 'whiches'.

EU - wrong question gets wrong answer.  There's a letter in The Guardian (7th Oct), and this critique of brexit, David Cameron and the three 'whiches' which was published in Brussels and London.


The UK referendum was bound to be 'Leave', as predicted in this press release of 5.2.2016, and this article of November, 2015.  So hence https://www.opendemocracy.net, this letter in the local press, a further letter from Phil Kearney to the Dublin press (but unpublished), and a posting on Slugger O'Toole. See also 2016-6.

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