The Plurality Method

For the Plurality Method, the candidate with the most first place votes wins. The winner does NOT have to receive a majority of the first place votes!

The Plurality Method is the election method with which many of us are most familiar.

The mayor of Smallville is being chosen in an election using the Plurality Method. The four candidates are Paul (the town barber), Rita (head of the town council), Sarah (Superintendent of Education), and Tim (former District Attorney).

500 registered voters cast their preference ballots. The results are summarized in the preference schedule below.

# of



130 120 100 150
1st P T T S
2nd R R R R
3rd S S P P
4th T P S T

How many voters cast preference ballots in this election? answer

How many first place votes are needed for a majority? answer

Did any candidate receive a majority of first place votes? answer

Who is the winner by the Plurality Method? answer

see another example

Notice that the Plurality Method uses only the first row of information in the preference schedule (corresponding to first place votes). When using the Plurality method, all of the other information in the preference schedule is irrelevant.