New voting system proposed: Majority Judgement.

Do the voting systems of the world’s democracies elect the candidates the electorate really wants? Voting theorists Michel Balinski and Rida Laraki say that often they don’t, and that this raises serious questions about legitimacy to rule.

Voting Power and Procedures is presenting a series of lectures this week at the London School of Economics by Professors Balinski and Laraki, who will introduce their new voting system, Majority Judgement.

From the Voting Power and Procedures press release:

“From political and corporate elections to wine and figure skating competitions (and Strictly Come Dancing), the speakers claim their system succeeds where others fail.

Lecture 1: Majority Judgement vs. the Traditional View at the Wolfson Theatre, LSE, 6:30-8pm, Wednesday 18 March.
Professor Balinski introduces the new voting model.

Lecture 2: Principal Properties of Majority Judgement at the Thai Theatre, LSE,6:00-7:30pm, Thursday 19 March.
Professor Laraki analyses the major features of the new system and why it is best.

Lecture 3: Majority Judgement Compared with Other Voting Systems at the Thai Theatre, LSE, 6:00-7:30pm, Friday 20 March.
Professor Balinski’s comparisons of Majority Judgement lead to his conclusion that it is superior to all other current electoral systems.

For further details on the lectures, see the VPP webpage.

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This entry was posted in Events.


  • I’ve just spent my lunchtime reading up on Majority Judgement (primarily at the Balinski-Laraki paper here: and I’m mightily impressed.

    This is a really interesting proposal.

  • Any chance of a one side summary? 🙂

  • Hywel – the link James posted is a good quick summary. Rather thank ranking candidates, voters give them a verbal grade from the columns available. Hence, a hypothetical Oxford East Green party voter could give the Lib Dem candidate “Very Good” and the Labour MP “to Reject” but still choose “Excellent” for the Green candidate. The winner is the one with the *median* (not average) highest degree (with ties easily resolved, as described in the article).

    James – thanks as ever for your thoughts. On mandates, I see it as a positively good thing that the system can return weak mandates. This is a system that provides a clear result, yet also has capacity for voters to show their contempt for all candidates. When a candidate gets an unusually strong mandate, the system actually provides a way to express it.

    I guess the issue comes down to whether you like or hate consensual voting systems – something which is a philosophical question. I say “yes”, despite it being non-proportional.

  • Paul Griffiths 18th Mar '09 - 7:54pm

    What’s the rationale for explicitly labelling the categories? Every voter is going to use their own internal metric anyway. Wouldn’t, say, one to six stars work just as well?

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