Voting Procedures

Who can vote and how we count...

Voting Basics

For Online Voting (

  • Voting is confidential. The computer makes sure that no one votes twice, but doesn't actually let us know who you voted for. For more technical information email us.
  • Voting is preferential BUT YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO LIST MORE THAN ONE CANDIDATE. You do not have to rank all the candidates. You may, if you like, rank n-1. Or you can just choose one. A description is below. (The preferential voting is just like the one Cambridge uses)
  • If a voter has problems voting electronically, he/she should EMAIL UA-ELECT@MIT.EDU. The system works well, but occasionally some voters have problems voting. If this happens to you or someone you know, and if you email us, we may be able to find a solution.
  • For anyone who does not wish to vote online, there will be paper voting in lobby 10 the day after online voting closes.

Eligibility Requirements

UA President and Vice President: All undergraduates (even seniors!) are allowed to cast a ballot for UAP/VP during Spring elections.

UA Council Seats: All residents of a particular living group can vote for that group's seat(s) on the UA Council during Fall elections.

Class Council: All members of a particular class are allowed to vote for their class council officers. Seniors don't vote for class council during Spring elections while only freshmen vote for class council during Fall elections.

If the voting website says that you aren't eligible to vote, but you meet the above requirements, please email us with your name, year, and living group, and we'll see what can be done.

Preferential Voting Works Like This:

You must pick a first choice. After that, you *may* rank as many others as you would like, 1 through N-1.

When the votes are tallied, the computer compiles all the first choice votes. It then eliminates the candidate with the least number of votes, say Candidate Goofy. The computer then looks at each of the ballots that had Goofy ranked first, counts up all the votes for second place, and then adds those to the first place ranking for those people. This process continues until one candidate has a majority of the votes. If no candidate gains a simple majority, the process continues until only two candidates are left.

Therefore, preferential voting only matters if the person you place first comes out last in any round - then your vote switches to a vote for your second place choice, and so on. Any vote for a candidate, no matter what rank, is still a vote for him or her, and can only help his/her chances of winning. If you don't want to see a particular candidate in office, you should not rank him or her.

Preferential Voting Example

First round:

Bongo the Gerbil 100 votes
A Dancing Monkey in a Top Hat 95 votes
Minnie Mouse 58 votes
Mickey Mouse 55 votes
Goofy 25 votes (Next ranking : 9 votes Dancing Monkey, 6 votes Bongo, 5 vote Mickey, 2 votes Minnie, 3 votes no preference)
No Preference 10 votes

Second round:

Bongo 106 votes
Dancing Monkey 104 votes
Minnie 60 votes (Next ranking : 25 votes Dancing Monkey, 19 votes Bongo, 16 votes no preference)
Mickey 60 votes (Next ranking : 22 votes Bongo, 19 votes Dancing Monkey, 19 votes no preference)
No Preference 13 votes

Third round:

Bongo 147 votes
Dancing Monkey 148 votes
No Preference 48

Notice that A Dancing Monkey in a Top Hat wins the election even though he/she/it did not have the greatest number of first choice votes.









Copyright © 2012 by MIT Undergraduate Association