Here is the rule for situations in which making no change is a valid choice.
If two or more actions are proposed, two rounds of voting shall be used. In the first round of voting all the proposed actions, excluding a do-nothing [or making no change] option, shall be presented and eligible members [or employees or participants] shall indicate their first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on. A voter can specify more than one choice at the same preference level. If a voter does not specify a preference level for a choice, that choice shall be regarded as being at the lowest preference level. If a voter specifies more than one preference level for the same choice, the highest specified preference level shall be used. VoteFair ranking as described below shall be used to reveal the most popular choice of action. In the second round of voting the voters shall choose between making no change and adopting the action previously identified as most popular. After counting the votes from the second round, if a majority [or a two-thirds majority] of voters prefer the proposed action, the proposed action shall be adopted as the preferred choice.
VoteFair ranking shall be done using software (such as accessible at www.VoteFair.org) that performs the following calculations. The voter preferences are counted to produce a tally table in which all the possible pairs of choices are listed, one number for each pair indicates the number of voters who prefer one choice in the pair over the other choice in the pair, another number for each pair indicates the number of voters who have the opposite preference for these two choices, and a third number for each pair indicates the number of voters who express no preference between the two choices. Using a computer, each possible sequence of choices is considered, where a sequence consists of one of the choices being regarded as the most popular choice, another choice being regarded as the second-most popular choice, and so on. For each such sequence the numbers in the tally table that apply to that sequence are added together to produce a score for this sequence. The sequence that has the highest score indicates the overall order-of-preference for the choices. If there is more than one sequence that has the same highest score, the sequences with this score shall be analyzed to identify one or more ties at one or more preference levels.
Here is the rule for situations that involve ranking priorities, such as budget categories. In these situations all the choices will be pursued, but with different levels of money, time, or other resources.
If the relative importance of two or more choices (or categories) need to be determined, eligible voters shall rank the choices according to first choice (most important), second choice (second-most important), third choice (third-most important), and so on. A voter can rank more than one choice at the same importance level. If a voter does not rank a choice, that choice shall be regarded as being at the lowest importance level. If a voter specifies more than one importance level for the same choice, the highest specified importance level shall be used. VoteFair ranking [as described elsewhere in this document] shall be used to reveal the first (most important) choice, second (second-most important) choice, third (third-most important) choice, and so on. The organization shall allocate resources in a way that is influenced by this ranking of priorities.
In high-level organizations (or negotiations) that involve well-defined conflicting groups of voters (such as political parties), VoteFair representation ranking might be more appropriate than the VoteFair popularity ranking described here.
© Copyright 2005 by Richard Fobes, author of Ending The Hidden Unfairness In U.S. Elections and The Creative Problem Solver's Toolbox. Permission to publish this proposed rule or law is hereby given if this copyright notice remains attached. Permission to use this proposed rule, or any portion of it, in any organization's bylaws is hereby granted unconditionally.
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