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What Are Weighted Ballots?

Published November 1, 2019

Used by HOAs and in AGMs, weighted ballots are used to ensure more proportional representation

Otherwise known as cumulative voting or “multiple votes per ballot”, weighted voting is intended to promote more proportional representation than that of "winner-take-all" first-past-the-post elections. Cumulative voting is used frequently in corporate governance, where member voting rights are weighted, such as according to their contributions to the company or their interests in the assets of the company.

Minority shareholders often benefit from weighted voting because they have the option to focus all of their attention on a single candidate or decision point. Each voter is allowed as many votes as there are candidates and may give all to one candidate or varying numbers to several of them. 

If multiple minority shareholders focus on a single issue together, they often have the power to influence a change or appointment in their desired direction. For example, cumulative voting allows the shareholders of a homeowner association to cast all of their votes for a single nominee for the board of directors when the HOA has multiple openings on its board.

Who uses weighted ballots?

Cumulative voting is advantageous for individual investors because they can apply all of their votes to one candidate, so this voting technique is typically used to accommodate shareholder elections at corporate AGMs. 

Organizations with large numbers of voters, such as an HOA will typically use cumulative voting for their AGMs. Strata councils use this weighted ballot technique as well -- many condominium bylaws state that the number of votes someone receives is set by how much square feet they own.

Use Weighted Voting With SmartBallot

The SmartBallot voting platform also offers a weighted ballot feature so that the number of shares or vote weight may be specified for each eligible voter in the app.

Explore cumulative voting and other powerful features by signing up for the SmartBallot app.