Pre-ranked Voting (PRV)


This may or may not be original, but I’d love to hear if something like this exists.

Pre-ranked Voting (PRV)

This system is a modification of instant-runoff voting with one important difference: instead of voters ranking candidates, they vote for a single candidate’s ranked choices.

Prior to the election, each candidate is required to fill out a fully preferential ballot. Their ranking is then shown on the actual election ballot next to their name.

Election results can then be tabulated using instant-runoff voting or any other ranked choice method.

Example PRV ballot:

Choose ONE Candidate

  • [ ] Joe Smith (→Fred Rubble→John Citizen→Mary Hill→Jane Doe)
  • [ ] Jane Doe (→Mary Hill→Fred Rubble→John Citizen→Joe Smith)
  • [ ] John Citizen (→Joe Smith→Mary Hill→Fred Rubble→Jane Doe)
  • [ ] Mary Hill (→Jane Doe→Fred Rubble→John Citizen→Joe Smith)
  • [ ] Fred Rubble (→John Citizen→Mary Hil→Jane Doe→Joe Smith)

This system has a number of interesting benefits:

Using only the vote totals, anyone can determine the winner of the election. Election tracking systems would be able to calculate the ‘current’ winner as results come in. The ability for anyone to determine the winner with a pen (w/ simple ranked counting method) greatly improves transparency.

Voting difficulty is comparable to plurality voting hopefully reducing voter fatigue, donkey voting and mistakenly spoiled ballots compared to ranked choice systems.

Ballots printing costs should be comparable to those used in plurality voting.

The complexity of tabulating results is constrained like with partial preferential voting where N = # candidates.

It preserves the one-vote, one-person concept many voters feel comfortable with.

The system effectively requires each candidate to semi-endorse their opponents ahead of time which may have an effect on how vitriolic campaigns get.

The effects on tactical voting requires more study. Tactical voting by voters is constrained by the limited preranked options, but expanded because of the knowledge of all possible rankings. Available strategies are controlled by the candidates who could choose to limit it. Voters may punish or reward candidates based on their rankings limiting how strategic candidates can be with their ranking choices.

Hidden PRV

As an alternative to public pre-ranked choices, one might consider a Hidden PRV system that kept secret the ranked choices made by candidates until after voting ends. After polls close, their choices are made public. I believe this should make tactical voting extremely difficult for both candidates and voters as they’d have to guess the preferences of a candidate - especially if candidates aren’t truthful about the rankings they made ahead of the election. Indeed, for a while I was convinced this could sidestep Gibbard–Satterthwaite.



Still suffers from center squeeze. Still suffers from participation failure and spoilers. Nope.

By the way, I just came up with an interesting system that is a compromise between Asset and IRV/STV. You vote as in the latter. But then we have negotiations like that of Asset to determine the order of elimination. A candidate’s only action is to drop out and redistribute their votes according to the later preferences of their voters’ ballots.


Hidden PRV has no verifiability. What if the information gets leaked? How do you confirm that the Gov actually released the information corresponding to the candidates’ rankings? (In other words, if a candidate accuses the Gov of changing the candidate hidden rankings, how do we figure out who is lying?)


That will still elect unrepresentative winners because of vote-splitting causing the best candidates to be eliminated early. I like the idea of using pre-election delegation to simplify ballots, but it needs a better method of transferring the votes…


If your going to assign each vote a pre-election decided ballot based on the candidate that that vote was cast towards, then you can causally through computational complexity out the window and use a method like Elbert’s, Monroe’s, Harmonic, Schulze STV, CPO-STV, etc. because when all you have is a list of all possible ways of voting and how many voters voted under each way, then election results can be validated independently really easily. The only problem would be that while you could use pre-determined ballot presets to through computational complexity out the window, comprehensive complexity would still be a problem and most of these methods are not great on that front either.

*Elbert’s and Monroe’s methods are on a whole different level in terms of computational complexity where unless the number of seats in the election is small enough, the number of voters must also be factored in to their computational complexity, so in order to prevent this from happening, there is still a limit to how many candidates you can elect with these two methods.


Side note, I am perplexed as to how and why “Monroe’s” got italicized


Another side note,

In case you wanted to know the degree to Monroe’s’ method’s complexity (it’s not even the most complex one), here is the simple equation for grading a single outcome when only electing 2 winners:

min(1/2, Va) + min(1/2, Vb) + Vab

Compare that to the 3 winner equation:

1 - max(max(max(1/3 - Va, 0) - Vab, -max(max(1/3 - Vb, 0) - Vbc + min(Vbc, max(1/3 - Vc, 0)), 0)) + max(max(1/3 - Vb, 0) - Vbc, -max(max(1/3 - Vc, 0) - Vac + min(Vac, max(1/3 - Va)), 0)) + max(max(1/3 - Vc, 0) - Vac, -max(max(1/3 - Va, 0) - Vab + min(Vab, max(1/3 - Vb)), 0)) - Vabc, 0)