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School Election Administration

As student governments approach the adoption of fair elections systems the difficulty in implementation is often the main obstacle to reform. But many times, the current election method in use can easily be modified to accommodate fair elections.

If you are running an election with a small number of ballots, less than 500 ballots, you can easily use a paper ballot and count votes by hand.  If you are running a larger election, such as at a large university, you might want to use Internet voting or optically scanned ballots. There are also several low-cost software packages available that schools can use to tally votes. [NOTE:  Listing here does not constitute an endorsement or guarantee about the products mentioned.]

  • Voting Solutions produces the software used to count the choice voting election for city council and school board in Cambridge, MA.  It is very robust, professional-quality software that is, unfortunately, expensive for use in commercial or public elections.  Fortunately, the firm produces a "lite" version for use in non-government elections and only charge $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

Many schools also use online voting as a way to increase turnout and facilitate the ballot-counting process. Fair elections systems can also be integrated into an existing online voting system. For a demonstration of how IRV might look online at your school, please visit these sites.

Please contact [email protected] or call the Center at 301-270-4616 if you would like advice on the logistics of administering a large instant runoff or choice voting election. The Center will be glad to provide assistance to schools and organizations using fair elections systems.

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Copyright 2002     The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610, Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4616        [email protected]