Re: Ballot marking rules

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 21:28:28 CDT

>Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 20:42:38 -0400
>From: David Mertz <>
>Subject: [voting-project] Ballot marking rules
>> The "one X per candidate" method of marking
>I've been calling this "single selection"

Based on <>, it seems you use
"single" to mean "vote for 1 (only)". The cat catcher election is
still one X per candidate, but you call that multi. Political
scientists call it block vote.

(BTW, a good reference on electoral system design is the International
IDEA Handbook of Electoral System Design, on-line at
<>. I use their terminology.)

>> Semi-proportional methods:
>I think what you list is what I've called "multi-selection or 'M of
>N'." I.e. "Put an X by no more than M of the N names"

Well, yes and no. I think you are confusing /marking/ rules with
/scoring/ rules. Limited voting means there are N candidates for M
seats (N > M), but I can only vote for K of them (K < M). It's still
one X per candidate, just like the cat-catcher example. See <> for more information.

Cumulative voting is described at
<>. There are N candidates
for M seats. You have M votes that can be distributed amongst 1 to M
candidates. In free cumulative voting, you can put all M votes on one
candidate, one vote on each of M candidates, or any combination in between.
In equal and even cumulative voting, you mark how many candidates (1 to M)
you want to vote for. If you mark K candidates, each candidate gets M/K
votes (fractions allowed).

Equal and even cumulative voting is still the "one X per candidate"
marking rule, but the scoring rule is very different from limited
voting or block voting.

>> The numerical (ranking) method of marking allows for...
>This we refer to as "ranked preference"


>> There's a third method of marking, the multiple Xs per candidate
>> method, that allows for this scoring method:
>I'm not familiar with this. What are the rules exactly?

See above description of cumulative voting.

>Does a voter get a certain number of total "X"s to distribute as they
>want? Is there a (smaller) limit to the number of votes per candidate?
>Is there any relation between the number of available Xs/votes and the
>number of candidates?

You get as many Xs as there are seats to be filled. There is no
relation between the number of Xs and the number of candidates.

>It doesn't so much matter for the ballot itself, but is this method
>used to select one winner, or for a multi-person body (such as city
>councils, say with the largest M "X" getters being seated)?

All the proportional and semi-proportional systems (including
cumulative voting) are for multi-person bodies only. Block vote is
also for multi-person bodies. FPTP and two-round runoff are for single
winner elections (could be single-member seats in a multi-person body,
however, as we use for Congress).

>In part I'd like to understand this ballot marking style so that I can
>figure out the information content of it for my election-entropy tool.
>But in general, I'd just like to know about it.

For more information, see <>, especially
<>, and

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:25 2004

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