Preferential Voting

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PREFERENTIAL VOTING, a method of voting under which the voter expresses a first choice, second choice, and sometimes third and further choices among the candidates nominated. It is frequently used as a substitute for primary elections. It is one feature of the Hare system of proportional representation and is also used in several different forms for majority elections of individual officials. The major consequence of preferential voting is that minority constituencies exercise a larger role in elections than in a system of simple majority rule. In the United States preferential voting systems make up only a minuscule fraction of elections.


Bybee, Keith J. Mistaken Identity: The Supreme Court and the Politics of Minority Representation. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Guinier, Lani. The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness and Representative Democracy. New York: Free Press, 1994.

Powell Jr., G. Bingham. Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000.

Richie, Robert. Reflecting All of Us: The Case for Proportional Representation. Boston: Beacon, 1999.

George H.HallettJr./a. g.

See alsoElection Laws ; Elections .