Thursday, November 19, 2015

Best Methods for Electing a Single Person

OpaVote offers 23 different counting methods that you can use for counting the votes in your election!  Most other election providers give you just one option.  Here, we help you navigate the options for electing a single person (president, vice-president, treasurer, etc.) We'll have a follow up post to discuss electing a group of people (committees, councils, etc.).
First off, if you insist on having a boring, traditional, and unfair election where voters pick one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins, then select the "Plurality/FPTP/SNTV" option and move on.  On the other hand, if you really care about electing the best people to lead your organization, then keep reading.

Instant Runoff Voting

Generally, our top recommendation to most organizations is to use instant runoff voting (IRV).  IRV provides good results and is easy to understand. In particular, we recommend San Francisco RCV because the rules are well defined.

With IRV, a voter ranks the candidates in order of preference (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.). The first step in the counting is to count the first place votes. If a candidate receives a majority of first place votes, then he or she is the winner. If not, the candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated and those votes are transferred to their second choices. This elimination process is repeated until a majority winner is obtained.

The results of an IRV election are also easy to understand, and here are results of our favorite ice cream flavor poll with IRV.