Contact UsSearch
Click for Search Instructions
Home > Learning Resources > Glossary

second ballot

The second ballot electoral system is a majority system which requires elections to be run in two stages.  At the first stage, electors vote using a first past the post system Candidates winning a majority of votes are declared elected.  In electoral districts where no candidate wins a majority of votes, a second election is held where the contest is restricted to the two candidates who won the most votes at the first stage, or only to those candidates with more than a specified share of the vote.  At the second election, the candidate with the most votes wins.  The second ballot system is a majority system because it ensures that all or most successful candidates have majority support.

The second ballot is used in France for the election of the president (an election at large across the whole country).  If no presidential candidate wins a majority of votes on the first round, only the top two candidates take part in the runoff election held two weeks later.   For the election of the 577 members of the French National Assembly (from 577 single member districts), only those candidates with more than 12.5 percent of the first round vote can participate in the runoff elections held one week later in those electoral districts where no candidate won a majority at the first election.  At the 2002 elections for the French National Assembly, only 58 members were elected with majorities on the first round.
© 2003 Citizens' Assembly on Electoral ReformSite powered by levelCMSSite Map | Privacy Policy