Ballot counting in Cambridge

Cambridge counts its ballots in the following manner:

  • The count begins with the sorting of ballots by the first choice shown on each valid ballot. That is the NUMBER 1 vote on each ballot. This is generally known as the "First Count".
  • Any candidates who reach the necessary threshold with Number 1 votes are declared elected. Any extra ballots they receive beyond the threshold are redistributed to the candidates marked next in choice (the number 2 choice) on those surplus ballots.
  • The count continues with the elimination of those candidates receiving fewer than fifty votes in the first count. Their ballots are redistributed to the other candidates according to the next choice marked.
    After each distribution, the candidate now having the lowest number of votes is eliminated and his/her ballots redistributed to the next indicated choice (number 2,3,4 etc.)
  • As candidates reach the threshold through the addition of redistributed ballots to their totals, they are declared elected and no further ballots are transferred to them.
  • This process continues until all candidates have been eliminated except the nine winners.
Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.