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Counting Ranked Ballot Elections

July 2004

We have come across several ways to count votes in ranked ballot elections using single-transferable vote (choice voting) or instant runoff voting.  [NOTE:  Listing here does not constitute an endorsement or guarantee about the products mentioned.]

Please contact us at [email protected] or 301-270-4616 if you discover any other methods of counting ranked ballot elections.

Ranked ballot elections have historically been counted by hand.  A thorough set of instructions is available at:

Everyone Counts (E1C) has developed a very sophisticated online election and survey product that handles multiple versions of ranked ballot elections.  E1C has allowed CVD to set up demonstration elections with their system, and CVD has partnered with E1C to run private sector elections.

Voting Solutions produces the software used to count the STV election for city council and school board in Cambridge, MA.  It is very robust, professional-quality software that has been released under an open source license.  The firm produces a "lite" version for use in non-government elections at a nominal fee ($40).  You can get it at The lite version is suitable for use in most private elections and produces a fully auditable report.  It's not especially user friendly, but once you get your voting data formatted properly, it's very fast and easy to use.

The Electoral Reform Society of the UK produces freeware for use in non-commercial elections. Details are at

The New Zealand Government has developed an STV calculator for use in local elections, but we haven't been able to determine if the software is publicly available.

Two options for Internet freeware are the DemoChoice and Jiffy Poll websites.  These are both free, non-commercial, open-source products.

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Copyright © 2004     The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 610, Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4616        [email protected]