Thursday, December 11, 2014

Borda Count Election System - abridged narration

George E M & Dr N Narayana Pillai submitting memorandum to Governor of Kerala Mr P Sathasivam (Former Chief Justice of India)
Borda Count Election System - abridged narration.

Mr. Jean Charles de Borda (May 4, 1733 - Feb 19, 1799) formulated an election-counting system during the 18th century ADE. This system, known after his name, is in use even today in many countries & institutions. The most glaring specialty of BCES is that it does not create rancor among contestants during any stage of election; reason being the absence of direct confrontation. Because of this reason it is preferred in several University & College elections.
As the student body elections of Kerala are in hot discussion now, some prominent aspects of BCES are given below:
1. There is no limitation on the number of contestants.
2. In order to take the opinion of each voter into consideration, provision is given in the ballot to cast more than one, but predetermined, preferential votes.
3. As the contest is not face to face & voting being multiple, the contestants need the help and cooperation of all the voters. This necessitates avoidance of rancor.
4. These voting & counting can be explained by a simple example.
5. Let there be 45 voters in a constituency (class), one representative to be elected & there be four contestants.
6. Then each voter can be given four preferential votes, one for each candidate. {When the number of candidates is large, the number of preferential votes may be limited through mutual discussions or applying appropriate formula in order to alleviate the complication in voting & counting.}
7. In the case mentioned in (5) above, if three preferential votes are agreed upon (or arrived at), each voter have to write a three digit number in exercise of his/her voting right.
8. Each digit of this three digit number is the serial number of a candidate in the list of candidates.{When there are more than nine candidates, alphabets will have to be used instead of numbers in positions higher than nine in the list.}
9. Repeating a digit (or alphabet will make the ballot invalid.
10. If less number of digits/alphabets than the decided number of preferential votes (or something else) are written, that ballot also will be invalid.
11. The first digit/letter from the left side of the number written in the ballot indicates the candidate of first preference, second one indicates second preference and so on.
12. In the case mentioned earlier, with four candidates & three preferential votes, if one writes 214 in ballot, it means first preference is to the second preference in the list, second preference is to the first candidate in the list, third preference is to the fourth candidate and the third candidate has no preference.
13. If it is decided that the FIRST PREFERANCE vote gets THREE points, SECOND PREFERANCE vote gets TWO points & THIRD PREFERANCE vote gets one point, the second candidate gets three points, the first candidate gets two points, fourth candidate gets one point & third candidates gets zero points from the ballot marked 213 on voting.
14. On adding up the points so collected, by each candidate from each ballot, the one who gets the maximum points becomes the winner.
15. Nobody can make out who all have voted for the winning candidate (without examining & analysing the ballots) after election.
16. Many countries have already given up the simple majority or First Past The Post (FPTP) system of election counting system, which was inherited from the British.

We are of the opinion that this system (BCES) which is continued to be in use in various institutions & countries is suitable to wipe out the problems associated with the school/college/university elections of Kerala and hence be implemented forthwith. The Borda Count Election System can be modified if found imperative.

Dr N Narayana Pillai                                            George E M

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