Choice Voting Documentation

Choosing a count method for your position


Choice Voting offers 5 different counting methods.

  1. Approval Method

  2. ERS97 STV

  3. Instant Runoff Voting

  4. Northern Ireland STV

  5. Scottish STV

The commonly used methods are Approval voting, IRV or STV, where a preferential vote is made.

IRV is often used where you will have a single winner, and STV for multiple winners.

Approval Voting

Approval Voting is a simple method of electing a single winner. Voters can select as many candidates as they approve of, and the candidate with the most approvals wins the election. This method allows voters to express support for multiple candidates and results in a winner with broad support from a large group of voters. Approval Voting is straightforward and does not require voters to rank candidates in order of preference.


ERS97 STV is a type of voting system used to elect multiple winners. It uses preferential voting where voters rank candidates in order of preference. The surplus votes of elected candidates are transferred as a block to the next preferred candidates. ERS97 STV is commonly used in the UK and helps ensure greater representation for smaller parties and gives voters more choice.

Instant Runoff Voting

Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) is a method of electing a single winner by ranking candidates in order of preference. Votes are counted in rounds, with the candidate with the fewest votes being eliminated and their votes being redistributed to the remaining candidates. This continues until one candidate has a majority of votes. IRV helps to ensure that the winner has broad support, prevents vote-splitting, and ensures a more representative outcome.

Northern Ireland STV

The N. Ireland STV rules are similar to the ERS97 rules, but significantly simpler.

Scottish STV

The Scottish STV rules are recommended for most organisations because the rules are well defined and provide a straightforward implementation of STV that is easier to understand. Scotland enacted STV in 2007 and had its first election that year.

Example use cases.

  1. School parent governor elections: Approval Voting

  2. Multi candidate preferential voting: ERS97 STV

  3. Multi candidate single winner preferential: IRV