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Simple majority

From Academic Kids

A simple majority is the most common requirement in voting for a measure to pass, especially in deliberative bodies and small organizations. It means that, of those who cast a vote for or against a proposition or candidate, more than half of the votes is necessary for election.

As an example, let's consider three propositions: A, B, and C, that are proposed in a club of 100 members. In order for a proposition to be successful, a simple majority must agree to it. The results of the election are:

  • 20 votes for proposition A
  • 40 votes for proposition B
  • 10 votes for proposition C
  • 10 votes are blank

Since there are more votes for B than there are votes for both A and C combined, B has the simple majority, and so wins. Notice that abstentions and non-voters do not affect a simple majority process, since they neither support nor oppose. They only affect an absolute majority.

In an election for president in the same club having candidates Jim, Bob, Sally, and Bridget, the results are as follows:

  • 20 votes for Jim
  • 20 votes for Bob
  • 40 votes for Sally
  • 2 votes for Bridget

In this election, no one has more votes than the combined votes of the opponents, so no one wins. In a case like this, most systems would either adopt a plurality rule or would have a second runoff election.

Tie votes do not meet simple majority and are classfied as failures.

See also

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