[EM] Borda count in practice

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Mon Jan 7 08:32:11 PST 2002

If your interpretation of the Slovenia election law is correct, so that
truncations receive zero, and the ranked choices receive the same points
that they would have received on a ballot without truncations, then
Slovenia's version of Borda is a kind of hybrid of Borda and Approval,
hence better than standard Borda.

Consider, for example, a single winner election with twenty candidates, of
which a typical voter might approve four.  If that typical voter ranked
only those approved four, they would receive 20, 19, 18, and 17 points,
respectively (from that voter's ballot), while the other candidates would
receive zero.

That's not so different from giving each of the four approved candidates
20 points (and zero for the rest) which would be equivalent to Approval.

The greater the number of candidates, the closer this method is to

Suppose that we used Slovania's version of Borda in Borda seeded single
elimination or in Borda completed Condorcet (Black). It seems to me that
when the number of candidates is moderately large, then there would be
very little incentive to rank insincerely. 


On Sat, 5 Jan 2002, Jurij Toplak wrote:

> There was a discussion about Borda count here for the last few weeks. I
> wander if anybody on the list actualy knows which countries use Borda system
> in their national elections? I know that my country, Slovenia, uses it.
> In Slovenian parliamentary elections two of the 90 members are elected in
> single-member districts according to Borda system (the other 88 members are
> elected with Droop and D'Hondt quota system). Law states that "A voter shall
> vote by indicating his preferential order of candidates in front of the
> names of the candidates, starting with number 1." (National Assembly
> Election Act, Art. 74). "Points shall be assigned to candidates according to
> orders of preference. For each first place the candidate shall receive as
> many points as there were candidates on the ballot paper, and for each
> successive place a point less. The points of each candidate shall be
> totaled."(Art. 95).
> Therefore, if a candidate on a 5-candidate ballot only votes for one
> candidate, this candidate will receive 5 points and the others zero. This is
> opposite to what Saari and the others here on the list are proposing.
> However, there is no basis in the law to give to this candidate only one
> point or to give the others "average" of 2.5 points. Law clearly sais "For
> the first place the candidate shall receive as many points as there were
> candidates on the ballot paper."
> It is also impossible to call this ballot null since the law sais that "A
> ballot paper shall be valid if it is clear which candidate he voted for."
> (art. 76).
> These districts are quite small - one has 2000 and the other 8000 voters.
> This means that if a group of few hundred voters deliberately voted for only
> one candidate this would make a big difference in result.
> However, the law stating "for each successive place a point less" could also
> be interpreted that the chosen candidate on a 5-candidate ballot would get 5
> points and the others 4 points. But it is not interpreted this way I guess.
> Does anybody know how do other countries that use Borda treat such ballots?
> The election act of Slovenia is available at
> http://www.sigov.si/elections/zvdz.html
> Happy new year to everybody,
> Jurij

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