On February 8, Peter Emerson (Borda Institute, www.deborda.org) gave a presentation of The Bettors Guide to Democracy (2022, Springer, Heidelberg) to President Michael D. Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin. He was joined by Prof. Peter Stone, Cllr. Dr Vanessa Liston and Rosalind Skillen (MSc student, UCD).
This is Peter Emerson’s argument for adopting the Modified Borda Count:
The binary vote in decision making is rarely questioned. It is used in parliamentary votes and in referendums; it is said to have been deployed in the CCP Standing Committee of China in 1989 in Tiān’ānmen, and is even in Article 97 of the North Korean constitution. It’s everywhere. It was the basis of the Northern Ireland brew/brew; it was used in the split that led to the formation of the Bolsheviks: the same word means ‘members of the majority’; weighted majority voting was implemented in Germany in 1933, the Enabling Act, when Hitler seized full power; and “all wars in the former Yugoslavia started with a (binary) referendum”, (oslobodjenje, famous Sarajevo newspaper, 7.2.1999), as well as today’s conflict in Ukraine. In fact, it is ubiquitous and often wicked.
Electoral systems vary enormously, sometimes electing an individual as a president, sometimes hundreds as an entire parliament. On the contrary, decision making is much simpler: it is used to select a singleton, either a single social option or a prioritization, but here too there are quite a few systems that offer the voter (parliamentarian or bettor) a single or many options . preference.
Binary voting was first used by the Greeks, of course, 2,500 years ago, and soon after by the Chinese, in the ancient Han dynasty. Multiple-option decision-making dates back to 105: studying the three options presented to a Roman jury in a murder trial – acquittal, banishment, or capital punishment – Pliny the Younger realized that if there was no majority in favor of any option, there was a majority against each option (As was the case in Brexit.)
The first government to implement plurality voting was in China in 1197, during the Jurchen Jīn dynasty. A century later, Ramón Llull spoke of preferential voting, and in 1433, Cardinal Nicolás Cusanus suggested a system of preferential points, the current (Modified) Borda Count, MBC. Other methodologies include approval voting, the two-round system, the STV Single Transferable Vote (also known as AV Alternate Voting or RCV Ranked Choice Voting), Rank Voting, and the Condorcet Rule.
Unlike many other books on voting systems, The Bettors Guide to Democracy analyze decision making. The bottom line is stark: Majority voting is not only divisive, contradictory and sometimes inaccurate, it is also horribly manipulable, as seen in Brexit, as seen in Ukraine. It really is time to question it, and the text demonstrates that binary voting allows the leader who so desires (Napoleon, Johnson, Putin) not only to select the option(s) but also, by choosing the voting order , determine the result.
If only for Ukraine’s sake, Ireland should replace binary voting, both in the Dáil and in referendums, with the MBC; At best, the latter identifies the option with the highest average preference. Therefore, it is ideal for pluralistic occasions such as COP meetings. Not only is it inclusive, literally, it’s also non-majority. This means it could pave the way for broad coalitions of all parties, national unity governments. The appropriate methodology is matrix voting, which Ireland should adopt now, before any future elections are held. Sinn Fein win 50% + 1. It’s the only voting methodology that’s an Irish invention: and it’s all in The bettors guide.