Multi-Voting, also known as N/3 multi-voting, N/3 voting, dot-voting and sometimes mistakenly thought to be identical to nominal group technique, is a technique used by small groups to quickly select a subset from a broader set of options. This democratic approach allows team member to cast a finite number of votes, with few restrictions (e.g., individuals can’t “plump” all of their votes on one single candidate), for their options of choice. Ultimately, the process yields a rank order. Some options, the ones with zero or few(er) votes are de-selected, so that the team’s attention can be focused on the surviving options. Multi-voting can be done iteratively to further winnow down the options.
Most multi-voting math is reflected in the “N/3” moniker, which represents the formula for determining the number of votes each team member is allocated. This number is purposely less than the number of total candidates. The math follows:
- If the number of calculated votes gets too large, for example 20 or more, then it may be prudent to artificially limit the total. Voting (and tabulating) can become unwieldy when such a large number of votes are extended against the number of voting team members.
- Good N/3 math does not eliminate the need for good selection criteria and rigorous, critical discussion before voting. And remember the N/3 technique is about (rough) prioritization and reduction of the candidate population, it is not a magical means of picking a “winner.”