Essay:RationalWiki election reform – electoral system

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For future moderator elections, my preferred electoral system would use ranked choice voting and a head-to-head points system similar to the Kemeny–Young method.Wikipedia

How it works[edit]

Each candidate will be compared with every other candidate based on voting preferences. The candidates will receive points in these head-to-head comparisons:

  • 2 points for a clear win: at least 50% of all voters preferred one candidate AND they received at least 60% of the head-to-head preferences.
  • 1.5 points for a marginal win: less than 50% of voters preferred one candidate OR they received less than 60% of the head-to-head preferences.
  • 1 point for a draw.
  • 0.5 points for a marginal loss: a loss to a candidate that only had a marginal win.
  • 0 points for a clear loss: a loss to a candidate that had a clear win.


  • If two candidates end up on the same number of points, then their head-to-head will decide who is ranked higher. If their head-to-head was a draw, then the candidate with the greater number of 1st choice preferences is ranked higher. If that is tied, then compare 2nd choice preferences and so on.
  • If more than two candidates end up on the same number of points, then these candidates will be compared with one another and ranked based on points. If candidates are tied on points again, then look at first choice preferences and so on. For example:
    Candidates A, B and C are all tied on 11 points. A has a clear win over B and C. B has a draw with C.
    Therefore, A is ranked highest with 4 points, then B and C with 1 point each. B has the greater number of first choice preferences and is therefore ranked above C.

Advantages of this system[edit]

  • You can simultaneously vote for candidates you like by placing them higher in the ranking and also vote against candidates by placing them at the end. It will now matter if a candidate is consistently ranked last. This prevents highly unpopular candidates from succeeding due to a handful of first choice preferences.
  • Each of your preferences will make a difference to the result, instead of only the first few preferences.
  • The result is a better reflection of what voters want.
  • Using the same ballots and the current system (Single transferable voteWikipedia), Pbfreespace3 finished 8th out of 13 despite clearly losing all but one head-to-head with other candidates.
  • Manipulating election results is significantly more difficult with this system
  • It encourages users to rank all 13 candidates and removes any need for tactical votingWikipedia[note 1]

Example using the 2017 moderator election ballots[edit]


The election contained 36 ballots.

Detailed head-to-head results[edit]



  1. An example of tactical voting would be if a voter chose not to rank their preferred candidate first because that candidate was clearly already popular and would be likely to receive enough votes to win anyway.
  2. "No preference" means that neither candidate was ranked when comparing two votes.
  3. 18 is the threshold since it is half of the total number of ballots (36)