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Preferential voting
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Preferential voting

Term preferential voting (also known as the preference voting) has several different meanings:

(1) A ranked ballot or preferential voting system is a type of voting system in which each voter casts their vote by ranking candidates in order of preference.

Voting systems which use a ranked ballot include:

(2) Preferential voting is a synonym for instant-runoff voting, especially in Australia, where such ballots are actually in use in elections. See The Australian electoral system.

(3) In Europe, preferential voting denotes what is in Unites States known as the Open List Proportional Representation (Open list PR). It is a voting system giving a voter an option to vote for one of the party lists and then also express a preference for one of the candidates of this list.

(4) Often term preferential voting is used for any kind of intraparty preference.

Ballot design or voting machine instructions are particularly important in such systems, as each voter is expected to express a rather complex set of tolerances or preferences in each vote.

Ballot variations


Further reading

Works of Richard S. Katz, David Farrell, Michael Marsh, Arend Lijphart, Lauri Karvonen.