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Broda Count – How Should We Make a Choice?

There are often many choices one can make in life, since it is impossible to select all the choices that vary in scope and field. This is especially prominent in a group, where some people may really want a certain choice while others don’t really like those choices, while still others are not sure. People all have different opinions and may get tempered in this way. So, it is important to have a good method for the group to share information and offer their own perspectives to arrive at a suitable group decision.

The Modified Borda Count is similar to the Borda Count, which is a voting system asking everyone to make a decision based on ranking their options. The least preferred option gets the least points, while the second least popular some more, and so on. The option with the most points is the winner. This was the classical definition of the Borda Count learned in class. However, unlike in the article, the representation in class of the first choice for a voter is k, with the second choice being k – 1 and so on. Similarly, the highest number with all k’s being constant across voters is the winner.

For some history on the Borda Count, it is named after the French mathematician and political scientist Jean-Charles de Borda, who invented it in 1770. It is used in politics, universities, and sports. The Modified Borda Count, however, is useful for team decision making.

The first step is the debate. There is a decision needed to be made and criteria met. This should be discussed as a group and clarified as to where everyone stands. Participants should consider possibilities and write them down on paper and even on a blackboard. Then, responses should be grouped together with similar options put together and duplicates eliminated.

It is easy to see that this modified method is a more in-depth, applied to real life version of the Borda Count, since participants are discussing.

Then, participants should choose their top five options and rank them in order of preference so the least favorite gets one point, next favorite two and so on. This part is pretty similar to the normal Borda Count. After that comes analysis when everyone’s ranking is collected and scores are added up to form a collective response. Thus the group has a consensus score for each option. The rankings should then be ordered with the highest score on top.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using this method. The advantage is that the winning choice should have the most support because it results in a majority vote, since everyone expresses their preferred choices as well as choices that are okay. Everyone can also see what choices are where. However, a disadvantage is tactical voting, in which people might change their choices to prevent a certain choice from winning instead of being honest. In my opinion, the Borda Count is good however because it takes into account not only what people’s first choices are but also their other preferred options. I don’t think tactical voting would be terrible because these people are trying to show they don’t want a particular choice to be chosen as well.

There are other methods other than Borda Count. One, which we learned in class, was the rundown method, in which the number of votes is counted and the choice with the least number is taken away, and this method is done recursively until there is only one choice remaining. However, this is not as good of a method because people are only saying yes or no: yes to their first choice and no to everything else, so a choice that is said no to be many people could actually end up winning.


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November 2018