Disappointments and Surprises
Modern voting theory was developed in eighteenth century France by two figures of the Enlightenment, Jean-Charles de Borda and the Marquis de Condorcet. Their analysis and methods are very much relevant today.
Condorcet wanted to use comparisons between pairs of alternatives (often referred to as “pairwise comparisons”) as the basis of a voting procedure. He proposed that when voters choose among a set of alternatives, the winner ought to be the choice that would gain a simple majority of votes in a two-candidate runoff against every other alternative. Intuitively, the Condorcet winner—the candidate that would beat every other one it was matched against—sounds like a solid pick.