Social Choice in the South Seas: Electoral Innovation and the Borda Count in the Pacific Island Countries
Reilly, B. (2002) Social Choice in the South Seas: Electoral Innovation and the Borda Count in the Pacific Island Countries. International Political Science Review, 23 (4). pp. 355-372.
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Many of the small island democracies of the South Pacific are natural laboratories for constitutional and electoral experimentation, but have tended to be ignored by comparative political science research. This article examines one apparently unknown case of electoral innovation from the region: the use of Borda count voting procedures for elections in the Pacific Island states of Nauru and Kiribati. It introduces the basic concept of the Borda count and its relation to other electoral systems, and surveys arguments about the virtues and drawbacks of Borda count electoral systems. It then discusses in some detail the way that the Borda count is used for elections in Nauru and Kiribati, including the political impact of the system, and empirical examples of different types of strategic behaviour at work. It concludes by examining the broader significance of these cases for comparative studies of democracy, elections, social choice, and voting theory.
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