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Ballot counting in Cambridge

Ballot counting in Cambridge


Cambridge counts its ballots in the following manner:

  •     The count begins with the sorting of ballots by the first choice shown on each valid ballot. That is the NUMBER 1 vote on each ballot. This is generally known as the "First Count".
  •     Any candidates who reach the necessary threshold with Number 1 votes are declared elected. Any extra ballots they receive beyond the threshold are redistributed to the candidates marked next in choice (the number 2 choice) on those surplus ballots.
  • The count continues with the elimination of those candidates receiving fewer than fifty votes in the first count. Their ballots are redistributed to the other candidates according to the next choice marked.
    After each distribution, the candidate now having the lowest number of votes is eliminated and his/her ballots are redistributed to the next indicated choice (number 2,3,4 etc).
  • As candidates reach the threshold through the addition of redistributed ballots to their totals, they are declared elected and no further ballots are transferred to them.
  • This process continues until all candidates have been eliminated except the nine winners.


[1993 Hand Count Manual - Cambridge, MA]

[2001 City Council Sample Ballot - Cambridge, MA]

[2001 School Committee Sample Ballot - Cambridge, MA]