POLYAS Election Glossary

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


Panachage is a method of voting used in proportional representation, open list elections, in which electors can cast multiple votes. In these elections, panachage allows voters to allocate their votes to candidates across different party lists.  

By using this voting procedure, electors can decide exactly which individuals they want to be represented by on, for example, the board of directors, even if the candidates appear on different lists. Panachage is often used in addition to cumulative voting.

Vote counting procedure

The vote counting procedure in list elections is often done according to proportional representation because it's considered to be the most democratic. Panachage supports the more accurate representation of the overall will of the electorate.

Advantages of panachage

The positive side of panachage is that voters are completely free to choose any of the candidates running in the election. They aren't compelled to choose from just one list of candidates, but can vote for different candidates from several lists. In doing so, they are essentially creating their own unique list of candidates.

One drawback, however, is that panachage tends to increase the likelihood of ballot papers being filled out inaccurately, leading to a higher incidence of invalid votes

See also: List election, cumulative voting, majority vote, proportional representation, direct elections, invalid votes

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