A Simple Yes Or No?



Voting during the Seanad Referendum in 2013

With May’s same-sex marriage referendum in mind.

Are we ready for some ‘bespoke’ democracy?

The De Borda Institute aims to “promote the use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice”.

Peter Emerson of the institute writes: writes:

When is Ireland going to move beyond binary voting [admitting only one answer among two possibilities]? When Finland debated abolition, 85 years ago, they had three options; when New Zealand debated their electoral system 20 years ago, they had five; in 1982, Guam had a constitutional referendum with 6. In Ireland though, as in Britain, there’s little sign yet of any such sophistication. Hence the nonsense of the Seanad referendum: they voted keep it or abolish it, and they got to change it. Take Scotland: they voted independence or status quo, and they too got something that (many wanted but) nobody voted for – devo-max. So, any chance of some pluralism? The correct methodology, we would argue, is the Modified Borda Count, MBC, multi-option preference voting; where the winning option is that which gets the highest average preference‚Ķ and an average, of course, involves every one who votes, not just a majority of ’em….


The de Borda Institue

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13 thoughts on “A Simple Yes Or No?

  1. ReproBertie

    What exactly are the multiple options for marraige equality?
    Yes for people that I know and celebrities and the like but otherwise No.
    Yes but no parents marrying their children
    Yes but not if it leads to people marrying animals and polygamy and the like

    Is the water not being muddied enough with Iona throwing out irrelevant guff about the rights of children to be raised by their biological parents?

  2. Clampers Outside!

    Never liked the yes/ no choice. It just meant the govt could say ‘we dealt with that’ and then do nothing or gives them the opportunity to say ‘we’re working on it’ and still do nothing / kick it down the road.

    The referendum was nothing more than a mollifying platitude as far as I can see.

  3. bisted

    …that seems to be a convoluted variation on a research method called semantic differential…I’d say the emphasis here is on the semantics.

  4. Starina

    I can definitely see the point of pluralism for things such as government structure or abortion rights but for a civil rights issue such as marriage equality? There’s no grey area — you either treat people equally (yes) or you don’t (no).

  5. medieval knievel

    plus, it lessens the mandate for the ‘winning’ choice.
    what if we have four options, and the most popular option gets 35% of the vote; it’s not exactly a phenomenal mandate on which to effect change.

  6. Odis

    A two edged sword. The only reason to muddy the waters is if you think you are going to loose.

    Also what about mandate? Over 50% seems convincing.
    With a split vote, those against any motion can start applying selective interpretations to any result.

  7. Just sayin'

    I’d prefer if we didn’t have a constitution that necessitated so many votes and we just let our elected politicians decide, like they’re paid to. A two-thirds parliamentary majority in both chambers would be fine by me.

    1. Kieran NYC

      Two-thirds majority would let most governments do what they liked to the constitution. Not that I don’t trust the fuppers, but…

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