Democracy and participation, Social inclusion

Preferential points voting in decision-making.


Who is behind this?

Peter Emerson

United Kingdom

Who is joining forces?





The de Borda Institute has worked with TEDx Vienna, the Society for Social Choice and Welfare, and many universities in Europe, the United States, China and, most recently, in the Caucasus.

Idea Sketch


Idea pitch

In complex debates, a pluralist democracy should allow for > 2 options 'on the table' and ballot paper. The option with the highest average preference wins. An average involves not just a majority but every voter.
Points voting is more accurate, so more democratic, than majority voting. It could spell the end of majority rule, (not the but) a cause of conflict in the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East etc.
People elect the parliament (by PR) and it elects the government (by PR matrix vote).

Where will your idea take place?

Inclusive governance can be demonstrated with any number of people in any setting or on-line.

Why does Europe need your idea?

1 Hitler came to power 'democratically'. One day, an extremist party somewhere may get 50% + 1 of the vote and take power.
2 Brexit was an inaccurate measure of British public opinion. 4 options: a) EU, b) EEA, c) Customs U d) WTO. Only 1 vote, "a) yes-or-no?" In a points vote, a) could have won.

What is your impact?

A change in the way self-determination is conducted. i.e., no more binary referendums in the Balkans, Scotland, Catalonia, Ukraine etc. No binary, always pluralism; so compromise has an equal chance.

How do you get there?

Electronic preferential voting with the Modified Borda Count, MBC.
An app, again with the MBC, for use in councils and parliaments, etc.
But first, a debate so that participants can choose the list of options. Everything is included or represented (as long as it complies with the UN Charter). And the final list is drawn up by a team of independent referees.

What is your story?

"All the wars in the former Yugoslavia started with a referendum," (Oslobodjenje, 7.2.1999). The same now applies to Ukraine and maybe too South Sudan.
I was there, in the Balkans, before, during and after the war. And in the Caucasus.

Who are you doing it for?

At a cross-community conference in Belfast in 1991, (still 3 years before the cease-fire), with a guest was from Sarajevo, we said no binary referendum in Bosnia. 40:30:20 Moslem:Orthodox;Catholic. So there was no majority.
In 1990, I asked for power-sharing in Georgia.
In 2005, in South Sudan.

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

All ideas as to disputes which could perhaps be resolved by preferential points voting.


Peter Emerson

Idea created on Nov. 30, 2017
Last edit on Jan. 9, 2018

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