All About Weighted Voting

An introduction to embedding different amounts of organizational influence into your vote.

What is Weighted Voting?

Weighted voting is a commonly-used voting method modifier that allows certain individuals more or less influence over voting outcomes.

This is accomplished by assigning voters different levels of influence or "weights".

The amount of influence given is typically related to the level of importance individuals hold within the organization.

Some examples

Here are three examples of everyday scenarios where weighted voting is relied upon:

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  • In a corporate setting, a stockholder with more shares is able to make more of an impact on company policy and decision-making than a stockholder with fewer shares.

  • On a condo or HOA board, someone who owns multiple residences in the building totaling up to 10,000 square feet is able to influence decisions more significantly than the person with one 1,000 square feet apartment.

  • At a charitable organization, the person who made a one-time $100 donation is given less influence than the person who routinely gives $500,000 each year.

Are weighted votes "fair"?

One person ≠ one vote

A weighted vote stands in stark contrast to a non-weighted vote. In a non-weighted vote, all voters have the same amount of power and influence over voting outcomes.

For many everyday voting scenarios (e.g. where your team should go for lunch), this is deemed fair.

In many other cases, however, what's "fair" is that certain individuals have more or less influence. Thus, in a weighted vote, one vote from a particular individual could account for two, three, five, or more times the number of votes compared to others.


More investment = greater rewards

At the end of the day, the weighted voting method modifer highlights the tendency for organizations to appropriately reward individuals who have made a greater investment - be it in time, engagement, or experience - relative to others at the organization.

When it comes to voting and elections, this means more influence over voting outcomes and decision-making.

Determining the amount of influence

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Relative voting power

A person may be allotted a set amount of votes.

In addition, this same person can be assigned an amount of power (i.e. ultimate influence over the decision to be made).

For example, someone could have many votes, but ultimately, little influence. At the other end of the spectrum, it's possible to have a very small amount of votes, with a significant amount of power.


Calculating relative voting power

By taking into account the number of votes and amount of power per person, organizations can determine a relative voting power, expressed as a percentage.

Adding up all of the relative voting power spread across a group will net 100%.

 

Further Reading

Princeton - Banzhaf Power Index

On quotas and quorum

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A quorum refers to the minimum number of votes needed to get a resolution passed. In a non-weighted scenario, it's often required that 50% of the group must engage in the vote.

When it comes to a weighted vote, however, the number of people who have voted must be combined with their individual weight.

These two factors will determine when a quorum is reached.

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