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Preferential voting

A ranked ballot or preferential voting system is a type of voting system in which each voter casts their vote by ranking candidates in order of preference.

Voting systems which use a ranked ballot include:

Preference voting is a synonym for instant-runoff voting, especially in Australia, where such ballots are actually in use in elections. See The Australian electoral system.

Ballot design or voting machine instructions are particularly important in such systems, as each voter is expected to express a rather complex set of tolerances or preferences in each vote.