Ranked-ballot voting methods

Ranked ballots allow a voter to express relative preferences among candidates.  For example, a ranked ballot of A>B>C indicates that the voter prefers candidate A to candidate B, candidate B to candidate C and (thus) candidate A to candidate C.

Here I describe and compare several methods of choosing a single winner given a collection of ranked ballots.  The methods vary in their ability to choose a candidate with broad appeal (to satify “social utility”) and to resist strategically insincere voting.  (Unfortunately, no ranked-ballot voting method is entirely resistant to such insincerity, unlike better and simpler systems such as Approval Voting.)

I never quite got around to finishing this project to my satisfaction—it’s still a work in progress—but please browse around, see what you think, and e-mail any comments, criticisms, or suggestions to rob@approvalvoting.org.  The ranked-ballot voting calculator is especially useful and fun to experiment with.

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Robert Hampton “Honky” LeGrand III ’98