ELECTION SYSTEMS DESCRIBED

In my other pages, I list various election systems. Here is a list of these systems, with the description of how each one works:

  1. PLURALITY (OR FIRST PAST THE POST)

    In Plurality Voting, each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate or alternative in each race. The votes are counted, and the alternative with the highest number of votes wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • The simplest system

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Biased whenever more than two candidates are running.
    • Favors the candidate most different from the others.
    • Disfavors candidates similar to other candidates.
    • Unfairly favors extremist candidates.
    • Causes negative campaigning and party infighting.
    • Suppresses third parties.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  2. PLURALITY WITH RUNOFF

    In Plurality Voting, each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate or alternative in each race. The votes are counted. Then the two alternatives with the highest numbers face each other in a runoff election. The alternative with the highest number of votes in the runoff wins. It also has biases that distort the outcome.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • A simple system

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Requires two stages if no winner.
    • Biased whenever more than two candidates are running.
    • Favors the candidate most different from the others.
    • Disfavors candidates similar to other candidates.
    • Unfairly favors extremist candidates.
    • Causes negative campaigning and party infighting.
    • Suppresses third parties.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  3. APPROVAL (OR RANGE 1)

    In approval voting, the voter is allowed to vote for every candidate or alternative that he approves of in each race. The votes are counted, and the alternative with the largest number of votes wins. This system is biased in the direction opposite to that of Plurality Voting.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Lets voters choose who they like.
    • Won't split voter blocs.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Unfairly favors centrist candidates.
    • Possibly many recounts.
    • Can't order your favorites.
     
  4. APPROVAL WITH RUNOFF

    In approval voting, the voter is allowed to vote for every candidate or alternative that he approves of in each race. The votes are counted, and the two alternatives with the largest and second largest numbers of votes go to the runoff.

    The runoff election is a plurality election, where each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate in each race. The votes are counted, and the alternative with the highest number of votes wins. This system has a number of biases.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Lets voters choose who they like.
    • Won't split voter blocs.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Requires two stages if no winner.
    • Unfairly favors centrist candidates.
     
  5. RANKING (BORDA COUNT, CONDORCET SIMPLE RANKING)

    In Ranking Voting, the voter ranks the candidates or alternatives in each race from best to worst. The voter can't rank two candidates the same. The votes are counted by rank as follows:

    The candidate with the highest vote total wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Can't tell where voter starts to dislike candidates
    • Voting can cause your candidate to lose.
    • Not countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  6. CONDORCET SECOND CHOICE (OR SUPPLEMENTARY VOTE)

    In Condorcet Second Choice Voting, the voter chooses a first and second choice for each race. The vote counting procedure repeats the following steps until one candidate or alternative has over 50%:

    1. Count up the vote for each remaining candidate or alternative.
    2. Remove the candidate or alternative with the lowest vote total.
    3. For each voter whose first alternative was the removed candidate or alternative, replace his first alternative with his second alternative.
    4. Discard the votes of each voter whose first and second alternatives were both removed.
     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Can't tell where voter starts to dislike candidates
    • Voting can cause your candidate to lose.
    • Not countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
    • Voter's vote does not count of both first and second alternative are discarded.
     
  7. CONDORCET THIRD CHOICE (OR IOWA CAUCUS)

    In Condorcet Third Choice Voting, the voter chooses first, second, and third choices for each race. The vote counting procedure repeats the following steps until only one candidate or alternative remains:

    1. Count up the vote for each remaining candidate or alternative.
    2. Remove the candidate or alternative with the lowest vote total.
    3. For each voter whose first alternative in use was the removed alternative, replace it with his next alternative.

    Stop if the next repetition will totally remove someone's vote. Elect the one with the largest vote.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Can't tell where voter starts to dislike candidates
    • Voting can cause your candidate to lose.
    • Not countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  8. INSTANT RUNOFF RANKING (OR ALTERNATIVE VOTE)

    This system has voters rank the candidates or alternatives. Then the votes are counted and redistributed in a strange way. The following process is repeated until only one candidate or alternative remains:

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Can't tell where voter starts to dislike candidates
    • Voting can cause your candidate to lose.
    • Not countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  9. CONDORCET PAIRED RANKING

    In Condorcet Ranking Voting, the voter ranks the candidates for each race. The vote counting works as follows:

    1. For n candidates, a set of n(n-1) counters is used to count the preference in each pair of candidates.
    2. Each ballot is examined for each pairing of candidates. The count is incremented for each pair winner.
    3. After the counts are done, each candidate gets one election point for each winning counter.
    4. The winner is the one with the most election points.

    Sample counters for 3 candidates:
        (A > B) (A > C) (B > A) (B > C) (C > A) (C > B)

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can have an outcome without a winner.
    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Can't tell where voter starts to dislike candidates
    • Voting can cause your candidate to lose.
    • Not countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  10. INDEPENDENT VOTING (OR VOTE ON EACH SEPARATELY)

    In Independent Voting, the voter is allowed to vote independently on each candidate or alternative. The vote cast for each choice or alternative may be YES, NO, or ABSTAIN.

    The vote is totaled according to the following rules:

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Voter Intent Preserved.
    • Can vote NO to something and have it count.
    • Does not split the vote.
    • Totally unbiased.
    • No primary elections needed.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Uses two machine spaces per candidate.
    • Can't order your favorites.
    • Requires two stages if no winner (rare).
    • Can produce a surprise minor candidate win if most voters abstain on that candidate.
     
  11. RATING

    Each voter rates each candidate on a scale of +5 to -5 on how much he likes or dislikes the candidate or alternative. The ratings are summed, and the alternative with the largest positive score wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.
    • Does not split the vote.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Possibly many recounts.
     
  12. FRACTIONAL RATING

    Each voter rates each candidate on a scale of +.5 to -.5 on how much he likes or dislikes the candidate or alternative. The ratings are summed, and the alternative with the largest positive score wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.
    • Does not split the vote.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Possibly many recounts.
     
  13. RANGE 9

    Each voter rates each candidate on a scale of 0 to 9 on how much he likes or dislikes the candidate or alternative. The ratings are summed, and the alternative with the largest score wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.
    • Does not split the vote.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Possibly many recounts.
     
  14. RANGE 99

    Each voter rates each candidate on a scale of 0 to 99 on how much he likes or dislikes the candidate or alternative. The ratings are summed, and the alternative with the largest score wins.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.
    • Does not split the vote.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Likely many recounts.
     
  15. LIST PROPORTIONAL (OR CLOSED PARTY LIST)

    List-proportional voting takes the vote in plurality fashion, but then allocates the seats in the legislature house by repeating the following process:

    1. Each party's score is calculated as score = votes / (seats + 1), where:
      • The votes value is the total number of votes the party got.
      • The seats value is the total number already seated from that party.
    2. The party with the highest score gets to seat one candidate. How this is done varies from country to country:
      • In some countries, the individual candidates are voted for, and the remaining candidate win the party with the highest total is seated.
      • In other countries, the party makes up a list in advance.
     

    ADVANTAGES

    • None

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     
  16. INDEPENDENT PROPORTIONAL

    Independent-Proportional Voting is a system where votes and seats in a legislature house are allocated among the parties and candidates according to the Independent Voting scores they receive.

    It is described here.

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Voter Intent Preserved.
    • Can vote NO to something and have it count.
    • Does not split the vote.
    • Totally unbiased.
    • No primary elections needed.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Uses two machine spaces per candidate.
     
  17. RANKING SINGLE TRANSFER

    This proportional representation system has voters rank the candidates. Then the votes are counted and redistributed in a strange way. The following process is repeated until all of the seats are filled:

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Allows voter to rank choices.

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Can't use existing voting machines.
    • Not easily countable at the precinct.
    • Entering or leaving candidate changes outcome.
     

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