Lesson Three: Borda Method

So far we have looked at the methods of Plurality and Run-Off.  These are the two most widely used methods for political elections in this country. Although they can be used to obtain a complete ranking of many alternatives, they are really designed to choose just an overall winner.

A major difficulty with both methods is that all candidates who are not first or second in being ranked number one are immediately eliminated. How can we get away from placing so much emphasis on only first place votes?

A fairly natural idea is to use some kind of point system, and count points instead of votes. This kind of method is widely used in ranking sports teams such as in football polls, as well as scoring track meets or selecting winners in some of the music or television award shows. Historically, the method goes back to the 18th century and is named for Jean-Charles de Borda.

How does the Borda method work?