Voting Rules for

Different uses for voting need different types of voting.

Preference Ballots offer more choices, more control and faster decisions.

Policy Amendments

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Olli Salmi writes:

I've been wondering if voting on several amendments in a debate has something to do with Condorcet. The order of voting is different in different countries. I know of the following systems:


There is a main motion. If an amendment is moved, it's voted on before the next one is moved. In all other systems everything is voted upon at the end of the debate.

French (German?/Danish/EU/UN)

The amendment that is most different from the main motion is voted upon first and then the next amendments in a descending order of difference. If an amendment gets a majority, it is carried and the vote is stopped. (The first one to get a majority is carried.) [Who decides which amendment is "most different"?]


The order of voting is the same as in France, but the vote is always between two motions/amendments. The one that gets the majority is put against the next one until each (each pair) has been voted upon (the last one to get a majority is carried). The final one is not voted upon unless there's been a specific motion to reject it.

[This finds the Condorcet winner. But it would not reveal, much less break, a voting cycle.]   [What happens when two amendments are non-exclusive, perhaps they are complimentary?]


A viva voce; vote for each proposal, shouting aye/no at the same time. If the meeting is not happy with what the chairman hears, they can request a show of hands, in which the chairman's favourite is put against another one which is decided by a viva voce vote. If a show of hands is requested at every stage, it is the same as the Finnish system.


You vote for all the motions/amendments at the same time. If none gets an absolute majority, the meeting votes which of the two amendments with the least votes should be dropped, unless the meeting has decided that the one with the least votes will be dropped. The voting goes on until a majority is formed. This is used for elections as well; the members of the Federal Council (cabinet) are elected this way, one at a time.

[This is Instant Runoff Voting if "the meeting has decided that the one with the least votes will be dropped." If not, then the one-against-one votes let members avoid dropping the Condorcet winner.]

(By the way, in multimember majority elections the required majority in Switzerland is sum of votes /number of seats rounded up, not the number of ballots /2.) [This is the Single Transferable Vote with Hare’s Quota.]

To me, the Swiss system looks the most reliable. I'm very dubious about the French system, because the voters can't put the amendments in an order of preference and they don't know which the alternatives are in a given vote. It might spread into Finland. Do I have cause for worry? Can I trust it just because it's used in the European Union and the United Nations?

[A ranked-choice ballot and Condorcet tally would be much quicker than the Swiss system. Hill’s completion rule using Instant Runoff would be most like their current system. The Loring One-winner Rule might improve its security.]

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