About the DemoChoice Web Poll

How are votes counted?
  1. Each ballot is counted toward its highest-ranked remaining candidate.
  2. Does a candidate have a majority of counted votes?
    No: The last-place candidate is eliminated; go to step 1.
    Yes: The majority winner wins the election.

Why vote this way?
This is an "instant runoff" poll, allowing voters to conveniently find a strongly supported winner from among many candidates, with minimal worries about "wasting" votes on weak candidates or "splitting" votes between similar candidates.

It improves upon the "most votes wins" method, where:

With instant runoffs, these problems practically never occur.

It improves upon the two-round runoff election, where everyone has to go in and vote twice - often, the inconvenience of the second election results in very low participation. Two-round runoffs can have the same problems as "most votes wins" when there are more than three candidates, but instant runoffs work well for any number of candidates.

Which candidate received my vote?
Follow the results link for your poll and look at the final round. At that point, your vote counted toward the remaining candidate who ranked highest on your ballot, or toward "none of these".

What happens if there is a tie?
Ties are not a very significant issue in public elections, because the number of ballots is large and ties are statistically rare. However, in a demonstration poll like this, they can happen frequently. Here, they are broken by comparing votes in successively previous rounds, or by random lot if that fails.

Let's do this in our local, state, and federal governments!
If you are interested in promoting this method of voting, Fairvote can provide more information and help you find like-minded people. Also, browse the DemoChoice library.

How can I print (or save) the results?
To print the bar charts, you may need to change your browser settings to enable printing of background colors. For example, in Microsoft Internet Explorer, choose "internet options" from the "tools" menu, go to the "advanced" tab, and check the "print background colors and images" box. If the dotted threshold line doesn't print, add "&thickdot=on" (without the quotes) to the page's web address.

If the poll has a large number of candidates, the results may be broken into pages. To disable this in order to save or print results, use "&page=0" (no quotes) in the page's web address.

Why didn't the totals change after I voted?
They did - try pressing your browser's 'Refresh' button.

I still don't get it!
We want to make sure that everyone who uses this site leaves with a comfortable understanding of how it works. Please feel free to ask a question. Our library has many links to other explanations and discussions where you can learn more.

What do you do with my email address in a private poll?
Your email address will be used to send a confirmation of your vote. In the rare event that your vote is not properly recorded, you may be contacted. Voter address information is not used for any other purpose.

Send us your feedback!
DemoChoice is an ongoing project, and user feedback is an essential part of it. Everybody has a slightly different experience and it helps to hear what parts you found illuminating and what parts you found confusing or cumbersome. Please share your thoughts!


Steve Willett created the first web-based instant runoff poll in 2000, as an interface to ChoicePlus Pro. DemoChoice evolved from this into its own project. Steve and the Center for Voting and Democracy helped provide web space for the first two years. Many others have provided helpful advice and encouragement. Further comments would be appreciated.

DemoChoice Web Polls ©2001 Dave Robinson