Preferential Voting Method for Senate-related Elections

Accordingly, the preferential voting method will be used to tabulate votes for the election of faculty, librarian, staff, and student members to Senate, as well as for the following Senate-related elections:

  • Membership slates for Senate-elected representatives to the Board of Governors, and the Presidential Selection/ Review Committee – if there are more nominees than seats
  • The ballot for the election of the Member-at-Large to Chair the Senate Priorities and Planning Committee - if there are more nominees than seats
  • Senate-elected representatives to the membership slates for the Selection or Review Committees of the Provost and the Vice President Research – if there are more nominees than seats
  • Elections that are undertaken in the instance that nominations from the floor are presented for any such ballots or membership slates

The preferential voting method is designed to achieve proportional representation; it expresses the majority will of Senate, since voters’ second and third choices are also considered in the calculations, and no one candidate can be elected on the basis of a vote split between the other candidates.

In the preferential voting system, each voter ranks candidates in order of preference, the candidate of highest preference being assigned rank one. Each voter may rank as many of the candidates as he/she wishes up to the number of seats available.  The standing of each candidate is determined by a weighted sum of the ballots on which the candidate is ranked. A ballot on which the candidate is ranked one carries a weight equal to the number of seats, and so on (e.g. if there are three seats: rank one carries weight 3; rank two carries weight 2; rank three carries weight 1; a ballot on which the candidate is not ranked carries weight 0). The candidate who obtains the largest weighted sum of ballots shall have first standing in the election and the others in order of decreasing weighted sums. In the event of a tie, resolution of such shall be as stipulated in Senate-approved regulations governing the election.

Example: 5 candidates for 3 seats, candidates E, D and B are elected.

Candidate # Votes Ranked 1 (=3) # Votes Ranked 2 (=2) # Votes Ranked 3 (=1) Final Sum of Weighting
A 15 60 49 214
B 25 45 54 219
C 42 10 72 218
D 25 50 49 224
E 35 40 49 234


Approval Authority: Senate
Office of Responsibility: University Secretariat
Revision Dates: May 23, 2017
April 2, 2012 (Approval)