POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Majority Vote

A majority vote means that a candidate is elected only when a majority of eligible voters have voted for them. The same term applies when a resolution is passed based on the support of a majority of eligible voters.

In a majority vote, candidates winning the most votes in a district can enter Congress or municipal councils. This voting procedure is often used in direct elections

Relative and absolute majority

  • Relative majority (also known as a "plurality") - a candidate simply needs to win the most votes in order to win the seat or position, not necessarily over 50% of the total. (This is also known as first past the post)
  • Absolute majority - a candidate must obtain over a half of the votes cast, or 50% plus 1 votes. 
  • Qualified majority (QMV)- a candidate or resolution must gain more than just an absolute majority, such as over 60%. This gives the minority the ability to veto a candidate or resolution.

The majority vote is one of the two main types of election systems used to allocate seats: the other being proportional representation

See also: Proportional Vote, Direct Elections, List Elections

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