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Better Elections With Selectricity

A new software system for voting, called Selectricity, may finally allow people with an affinity for mischievous and tenacious third-party candidates to vote their conscience without effectively throwing their vote away.Selectricity lets voters rank candidates in order of preference and can tally the..




A new software system for voting, called Selectricity, may finally allow people with an affinity for mischievous and tenacious third-party candidates to vote their conscience without effectively throwing their vote away.

Selectricity lets voters rank candidates in order of preference and can tally the results in any of these five ways:

1) "A traditional simple plurality method: whoever gets the most first-place votes wins."

2) "The 'Approval' method, devised in the 1970s, in which people can vote "for" as many candidates as they like-one vote per candidate-to indicate which ones would be acceptable, and then all the votes for each candidate are simply added up and the person with the most votes wins."

3) "The Borda count, first proposed in 1770, which awards weighted numbers to each candidate depending on the ranking voters give them (such as 1 for a first-place vote, 2 for second, etc.) and then these numbers are totaled to determine the winner."

4) "The Condorcet method, devised in 1299 and refined in the 18th century, in which each candidate is compared one at a time with each of the others to see which one was preferred over the other by the most people, and then the one who wins the most of these pairings is the winner."

5) "The Schulze methode, a refinement of Condorcet devised in 1997, which uses a complex mathematical formula to compare each candidate's rankings with each of the others."

Trying one of these new flavors for a primary season or general election could give small-time candidates instant viability, mitigate the focus on "momentum," and kind of revolutionize politics.

Missing from the system's bag of tricks, oddly, is the instant runoff method.

More about Selectricity from MIT News and at Selectricity.org.



















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