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The Bucklin voting system

I must make a full disclosure here. Some years ago I devised a new (or so I thought) way of using preferential (ranked) ballots to elect officials, which I believed remedied some of the weaknesses of the AV/IRV system. I subsequently discovered that it was essentially identical to the system devised by James Bucklin of Grand Junction, Colo., which was used in Grand Junction from 1909 to 1922 (see a page with information about James Bucklin.)

So I am somewhat prejudiced in favor of this system, at least if a ranked, rather than a rated ballot, is to be used. However, I would use one of the modifications described as "extended Bucklin" or "position-weighted Bucklin" here. (Extended Bucklin is actually the system I invented. Position-weighted Bucklin is currently what I think the best method, for the reasons given on that page.)

Several versions of the Bucklin method have been proposed:

  1. The original version of the Bucklin method, as used in Grand Junction, allowing only first and second preferences,
  2. An extended version differing only in that as many preferences can be expressed as the voter wishes to use,
  3. The Oklahoma version which allowed three preferences, but weighted them in decreasing value, and
  4. A fully weighted version, in which both the extension and the decreasing value features are implemented.

The unique feature of the Bucklin system is its pooling of preferences when no candidate is elected with a majority of first-preference votes. The exact procedures vary among the four versions, and you are referred to the specific pages on each of the four versions for details.

The pros and cons of Bucklin voting are analyzed in terms of a number of criteria that voting systems analysts often use to evaluate them here.

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Last modified April 6, 2009.

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