For reference, this is what many people assume when they see “Preferential Ballot” or “Ranked Ballot,” but it is NOT what Condorcet/Ranked-Pairs is about.
- One voting round: The voter marks the candidates on a single ballot in the order of his or her preference.
- First counting round: All the ballots are counted, considering their first-preference candidates; if this results in a candidate receiving a majority of ballots, then that candidate is elected, and we’re done; otherwise
- Subsequent counting rounds: We eliminate the candidate having the lowest number of ballots, reallocating these ballots in terms of their next-preference choices … until a majority candidate is determined.
|Two Candidates||Three or more Candidates|
This system is indeed an improvement over plurality/first-past-the-post: it is easy to understand, and only slightly more complex to do, but we can easily do significantly better with Condorcet/Ranked-Pairs, as proposed here. If this is the most we can achieve, however, it’s still a worthwhile improvement over plurality/first-past-the-post.
Ranked-Pairs and other Condorcet methods do NOT operate by “eliminating” candidates — all ballot preferences for all valid ballots come into play in determining the outcome.
Next: Mixed-Member PR Voting