Tournament Elections with Round-Robin Primaries: A Sports Analogy for Electoral Reform

32 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2021

See all articles by Edward B. Foley

Edward B. Foley

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: July 20, 2021

Abstract

Round-robin voting uses ranked-choice ballots but calculates which candidates are most preferred by a majority of voters differently from instant-runoff voting. Like a round-robin sports competition, round-robin voting determines how each candidate fares against every other candidate one-on-one, tallying the number of wins and losses for each candidate in these one-on-one matchups. If necessary to break a tie in these win-loss records, round-robin voting looks to the total number of votes cast for and against each candidate in all of the one-on-one matchups—just as round-robin sports tournaments look to an equivalent total point differential statistic to break ties. When used in a primary election as the method to identify the top two candidates deserving to compete head-to-head as finalists in the general election, comparable to the use of round-robin competition as the preliminary stage of a sports tournament, round-robin voting is the electoral system best able to implement the democratic idea of majority rule.

Keywords: ranked choice voting, instant runoff voting, Condorcet, Borda, majority rule, democracy, polarization

Suggested Citation

Foley, Edward B., Tournament Elections with Round-Robin Primaries: A Sports Analogy for Electoral Reform (July 20, 2021). Wisconsin Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3890246

Edward B. Foley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4288 (Phone)
614-292-2035 (Fax)

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