second ballot

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Marquis de Condorcet (1743—1794)


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Class of voting procedures in which candidates for a single‐member seat first fight a plurality election. Any candidate who wins more than half of the votes is elected. Otherwise, a second ballot is held, barred (by rule or convention) to all except those who came first and second in the first ballot. The winner of this round is elected. Second‐ballot procedures have been the norm in France since 1789, although in that year they were first criticized by Condorcet for their perverse properties. Their operation in France has supposedly illustrated the maxim ‘Vote with your heart in the first ballot and with your head in the second’.

Subjects: Politics.

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