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Borda count

A voting system devised by Jean-Charles de Borda, used for single or multiple-seat elections. This form of voting is extremely popular in determining awards for sports in the United States. It is used in determining the Most Valuable Player in Major League Baseball, the national championship of college football, as well as many others.


A number n is selected, this number can be smaller than or equal to the number of candidates. Each voter lists their top n choices, in order of preference.

Counting the Votes

A first-place rank is worth n points, a second-place rank is worth n-1 points, down to an nth rank being worth 1 point. A candidate's score is the sum of the number of points they received. The highest-scoring candidate is elected.

In the trivial case of n=1, this is mathematically identical to plurality voting.

Potential for Tactical Voting

The potential for tactical voting is large. Voters are encouraged to list choices they believe are popular lower than they actually believe they deserve to be ranked, so that they don't compete with their top-ranked choice. It also encourages voters to assess the viability of each candidate, so as not to "waste" their vote on those with little chance of winning.

This was much discussed in the case of the 2000 elections for Most Valuable Player in the American League of Major League Baseball, where there were two top candidates, and partisans for one were found not to have included the other at all on their ballot [1] (http://espn.go.com/mlb/news/1999/1117/177326).

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