Instant Consensus voting method

Steve Eppley seppley at
Tue Apr 1 16:10:34 PST 1997

Happy April,

This seems like a good time to explain the ideal single-winner
voting method, known as INSTANT CONSENSUS.  It's nearly
identical to the Instant Runoff method, being an iterative
elimination & transfer method, except that Instant Consensus
iterates completely instead of stopping short.

The Voting
Each voter ranks the candidates in order of preference, from 
most preferred to least preferred.

The Tally
For each candidate,       
   Count the ballots which rank that candidate most preferred.

Repeat the following...

   Eliminate the candidate which has the smallest count.

   For each ballot which was counted for the eliminated candidate,      
      Transfer the ballot to the most preferred    
      uneliminated candidate on that ballot.   

...until all but one candidate has been eliminated.

Readers familiar with the Instant Runoff method--also known as
MPV or single-winner STV, and sometimes referred to using the
generic name Preference Voting--will see at a glance that 
Instant Consensus is nearly identical, except that it iterates 
one extra round in order to find the candidate which achieves 
*true unanimity*, rather than settling for Instant Runoff's 
meager "true majority."

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    seppley at

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