Feature Focus: Plurality Voting

November 14, 2011

ElectionBuddy offers three voting methods for your elections. This Feature Focus looks at Plurality Voting (also known as First Past The Post)

What is Plurality Voting?

A simple vote counting algorithm in which voters select 1 or more candidates for each position. The number of candidates for each position that voters can select is configurable when setting up the election. This is the election system that is commonly used throughout North America in government-run elections.

Ballots are counted and the candidate with the highest percentage of votes wins. When running a multi-seat election, the candidate with the highest percentage will win the first seat, the second-highest percentage wins the second seat, and so on, until all seats are filled.

It is important to note that for elections with more than 2 candidates a majority of the votes (greater than 50% of the total) is not needed to win.

For example, if candidate one has 10 votes, candidate two has 11 votes, and candidate three has 12 votes, candidate three will win since they have the most votes of the three, even though they have 50% or less of the total ballots cast.

On an interesting side not, the term First Past The Post comes from an analogy in horse racing, where the winner of the race is the first to pass particular point (the “post) on the track. Ooh the wonders of getting lost in Wikipedia!

Who is Using it?

As previously stated, Plurality Voting is most commonly seen in North American government-run elections. The United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and India are all countries who have adopted this method when electing government officials. In fact, 43 of the 191 countries in the UN use plurality voting for government-run elections.

Plurality Voting is also the most common voting method used for organizations in ElectionBuddy. If you feel you need a winner-takes-all approach to your election, then Plurality Voting is right for you!

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