This is a voting method used in a single seat-election in which there is not just a choice of candidates, but also a preferential ranking of them. Ballots are initially counted for each voter’s top choice. If a candidate has more than half of the votes, she wins. If no candidate secures 50% of the votes, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and a second round of counting takes place. The votes of supporters of the eliminated candidate are not “wasted”. Instead, their vote counts for their next favourite candidate as indicated on their ranked ballot. In each round of voting, a voter’s ballot counts for whichever remaining candidate is ranked highest on the ballot. Eventually one candidate emerges as a majority winner. This system has been used to elect Australia’s Lower House, The Republic of Ireland’s President and a number of official bodies. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has touted this system as ideal for democracies as it always allows for a majority vote which is closer to the preferences of the electorate.
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