RubyVote: Election Methods Library in Ruby


This software is pre release software. The authors of this software are neither expert Ruby programmers or elections in election methods. We are hackers and enthusiasts in both. This software has bugs and it's quite possible that is has bugs that may skew results. If you understand Ruby or election methods, please audit the code.


Latest Version: 0.2

Download Latest Version: here

RubyVote is an election methods library implemented in Ruby. It is designed to make it very easy to implement a variety of different types of elections in Ruby including relatively complex election methods like Condorcet. It could be useful for any sort of election, poll, or decision making.

New Versions

RubyVote is graciously hosted by RubyForge.

You can visit the RubyVote homepage (a version of this file) here:

You can visit the RubyForge project page to download the latest version of software, get access to the latest development version from Subversion, to file or bug, to look through documentation, to participate in the forums, or to contribute in other ways. That page is here:

More Information

RubyVote is a library -- not an application or a voting machine. It simply takes the raw "tallies" of votes and computes the results. Currently, it does not include any sample interfaces (although if contributed, these may be included).

RubyVote current includes a set of classes to tally votes and compute winners in elections or votes using a series of different methods. Currently these include:

Writing support for a currently unsupported voting method is a fantastic way to to contribute to this module.

How To Use This Library

Using this library is relatively simple but will differ per election methods. In each case, you will need to require the appropriate file for the type of election you will be running and then create a new vote object. You should then either pass an array of votes to the object upon creation or pass votes in one at at a time.


You are responsible for ensuring that the votes are in correct form before you hand them to this module. This will not currently check for most types of invalid votes and does not (currently) accept a list of candidates at creation from which it checks all votes. As such, new candidates will be created when seen. If you think this is a meaningful addition to this library, please send a patch. Otherwise, please check for the validity of votes BEFORE you pass them to this election module.

Examples of each type of election currently supported can be seen in the test.rb file distributed in this archive.

ElectionVote Objects

Each ElectionVote object has the following exposed attributions:

  • ElectionVote#votes -- returns a list of votes that have been tallied
  • ElectionVote#candidates -- returns a list of candidates

Additionally, each subclass will create a #results method which will return an ElectionResult subclass of the appropriate type.

Currently, you use this module by creating any of the following types of vote objects:


This is the most simple "winner-take-all" system. The array passed to the new vote object should be an array of strings. Each string is counted as one vote for a candidate.


require 'election'
vote_array = [ "A", "B", "B", "A" ]
resultobject =


Approval is similar to plurality voting except that users can vote for more than one candidate at once naming all of the candidates that they approve of.


require 'election'
vote_array = [ ["A", "B"],  ["B", "A"], ["B"] ]
resultobject =


Borda is a positional voting system and, as a result, takes a list of ranked candidates and assigns points to each candidates based on their order. In Borda, there are n candidate and the first candidates is assigned n - 1 points and each subsequent candidate is assigned one less point. The candidate is assigned no points.

Currently, all candidates should be ranked in each ballot.


require 'positional'
vote_array = [ ["A", "B"],  ["B", "A"], ["B", "A"] ]
resultobject =

Pure Condorcet

Condorcet is a preferential system and, as such, each vote must list of ranked preferences from most to least preferred. Currently, all candidates must be listed. No ties are allowed on ballots with the current implementation.


require 'condorcet'
vote_array = [ ["A", "B"],  ["B", "A"], ["B", "A"] ]
resultobject =

Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping

Cloneproof SSD is a Condorcet variant with the ability to create winners in circular defeats (e.g., A beats B, B beats C, C beats A) where this is no clear winner in Condorcet. It is used identically to Pure Condorcet.


require 'condorcet'
vote_array = [ ["A", "B"],  ["B", "A"], ["B", "A"] ]
resultobject =

Instant Runnoff Voting (IRV)

IRV is a preferential voting system used widely for government elections in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere. IRV asks voters to rank candidates in preference and then holds a series of "runoff" elections by eliminating the weakest candidate and recomputing the election results until there exists a candidate who has a majority of the remaining votes.


require 'runoff'
vote_array = [ ["A", "B"],  ["B", "A"], ["B", "A"] ]
resultobject =

ElectionResult Objects

Each election result object will have the following methods:

  • #winner? -- return Boolean as to the winner or winners of an election
  • #winners -- an array of winners of the election
  • #ranked_candidates -- (where available) a list of ranked candidates


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.

Look in the COPYING file for the text of the GNU GPL.


Currently, the only contributor to this program is Benjamin Mako Hill working at the MIT Media Lab. Please feel free to contribute to this module and get your name added here.

For more information about Mako and his programs, you can see his homepage here:

For more information about the MIT Media Lab, you can see its homepage here: