What is Preferential Counting?

A system of voting whereby the voter indicates his/her order of preference for each of the candidates listed on the ballot for a specified office so that if no candidate receives a majority of first preferences the first and second preferences and if necessary third and other preference may be counted together until one candidate obtains an absolute majority.

Nauru By-Election History

This method of counting has been practiced over many years since Nauru became self-governed in 1968. There has been over eight By-Elections all in which used the Preferential Counting System. This method of counting is used only when one person is to be elected.

By-Election Year Consituency
1992 Boe
1994 Ubenide
 1998 Buada
1998 Yaren
1998 Ubenide
1998 Meneng
1998 Boe
2002 Yaren
2017 Ubenide

How it works?  

In order to win the election using the preferential counting system, the elected candidate must obtain more than half of the total votes casted. This is known as an absolute majority.

On a ballot paper, placing a number one against a candidate is considered the first preference or primary vote. If no candidate secures an absolute majority of primary votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is then eliminated from the count.

Votes for this eliminated candidate are then redistributed among the remaining candidates according to the number two preference indicated on the original ballot.

This process of elimination based on preferences continues until a candidate secures an absolute majority and is then declared elected.

How is it different from the general elections?

Dowdall system commonly known as the Borda Counting is what we use during the General Elections to elect members of our parliament. It is a method of counting in which values of each point allocated to candidates according to voters preference is weighted (1 – whole point, 2 – half a point, and so on) however for the Preferential Counting each 1st preference is counted as 1 (whole number) and is used to elect one member only.


Questions or Enquiries?

The Office of the Electoral Commission is committed to ensuring that we lead free, fair & credible elections with integrity and full transparency. We are open from Mon – Fri 9am till 5pm or call 557-3903. Please come in and see us should you have any questions or send us an email at elections@election.com.nr and we will be happy to help you.