Ranked voting ballot design

As I was going for my daily walk this morning I was thinking about options on how to design ballots for ranked voting elections, and I thought of several ways to do it.

  1. Write a number next to the candidate’s name.
  2. N – 1 bubbles next to the candidate’s name where n is the number of candidates
  3. Binary bubbles
  4. Roman numeral numbers
  5. Print the ballot from a computer
  6. Use a computer voting system

There are problems with each of these systems. People can’t write very well, so designing ballots with written numbers means you will need to rely on neural networks which never have 100% accuracy to read how they are voting.

Having a number of bubbles next to the candidate’s name can be relatively overwhelming and you run the risk of people putting two candidates in the same column.

Name12345678910
John F. KennedyOOOOOOOOOO
Lyndon B. JohnsonOOOOOOOOOO
Richard NixonOOOOOOOOOO
Jimmy CarterOOOOOOOOOO
Ronald ReaganOOOOOOOOOO
George H. W. BushOOOOOOOOOO
Bill ClintonOOOOOOOOOO
Al GoreOOOOOOOOOO
George W. BushOOOOOOOOOO
Barack ObamaOOOOOOOOOO
Hillary R. ClintonOOOOOOOOOO

A little overwhelming for a race with a lot of candidates.

The next option uses Binary bubbles

Name1248
John F. KennedyOOOO
Lyndon B. JohnsonOOOO
Richard NixonOOOO
Jimmy CarterOOOO
Ronald ReaganOOOO
George H. W. BushOOOO
Bill ClintonOOOO
Al GoreOOOO
George W. BushOOOO
Barack ObamaOOOO
Hillary R. ClintonOOOO

My Math brain appreciates this a lot, but I am concerned that a lot of people might not understand binary.

My best friend had the idea of using Roman Numerals:

NameIVIIII
John F. KennedyOOOOOO
Lyndon B. JohnsonOOOOOO
Richard NixonOOOOOO
Jimmy CarterOOOOOO
Ronald ReaganOOOOOO
George H. W. BushOOOOOO
Bill ClintonOOOOOO
Al GoreOOOOOO
George W. BushOOOOOO
Barack ObamaOOOOOO
Hillary R. ClintonOOOOOO

As someone with a passion for history, I appreciate this ballot. It is closer to binary in terms of the number of numerals, but also is a system which most people learned in elementary school. It isn’t that binary numerals are that difficult, but I don’t know how many people understand how they work in real life.

Since this data is hard to find, make a contribution to science!

How would you write the number 42 in binary?

What is your level of education?

To ensure we don't have a skewed sample. Answers are obviously anonymous.

Statistics - View the results

Thank you for helping to answer this question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *