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What is it?
The Borda count is a single-winner election method in which voters rank options or candidates in order of preference. The Borda countdetermines the outcome of a debate or the winner of an election by giving each candidate, for each ballot, a number of points corresponding to the number of candidates ranked lower.
Under the Borda count the voter ranks the list of candidates in order of preference. So, for example, the voter gives a '1' to their first preference, a '2' to their second preference, and so on.
All of the points given to candidates for each ranking is determined by the number of candidates standing in the election. Thus, under the simplest form of the Borda count, if there are five candidates in an election then a candidate will receive five points each time they are ranked first, four for being ranked second, and so on, with a candidate receiving 1 point for being ranked last (or left unranked). In other words, where there are n candidates a candidate will receive n points for a first preference, n − 1 points for a second preference, n − 2 for a third, and so on, as shown in the following example:
Alternatively, votes can be counted by giving each candidate a number of points equal to the number of candidates ranked lower than them, so that a candidate receives n − 1 points for a first preference, n − 2 for a second, and so on, with zero points for being ranked last (or left unranked). In other words, a candidate ranked in ith place receives n−ipoints. For example, in a five-candidate election, the number of points assigned for the preferences expressed by a voter on a single ballot paper might be:
When all votes have been counted, and the points added up, the candidate with most points wins.