Majority Vote

Majority voting is common in groups all through society, such as workplace employee associations or community associations. It works in the following way.

Group members discuss different suggestions for courses of action on a particular issue, and then the options are put to a vote. If any one suggestion receives a clear majority of votes cast, it is adopted as the decision, with those who initially supported other alternatives agreeing to abide by the will of the majority.

Majority decision-making works best where there are only a few options under consideration. It can be adapted by including successive rounds of decision-making, or by taking members’ first, second and third choices into account during the voting.

Majority rule is perhaps most classically associated with democracy in relation to elections. In many electoral systems, the winner in each electoral constituency is decided by a simple majority of votes, and then the winning party that forms the government is decided on the basis of who has the largest number of individual constituencies won (which may not always be a majority).

We also see majority rule decision-making in use within the structures of democratic government, such as in the Houses of Commons or National Assemblies. Here, the passage of new laws and of important policies is usually done on the basis of a casting of votes, where a simple majority (or in some instances a larger majority, such as two thirds) is required for success.