Daunou’s Voting Rule and the Lexicographic Assignment of Priorities

Abstract

Pierre Daunou, a contemporary of Borda and Condorcet during the era of the French Revolution and active debates on alternative voting rules, proposed a rule that chooses the strong Condorcet winner if there is one, otherwise eliminates Condorcet losers and uses plurality voting on the remaining candidates. We characterize his rule which combines potentially conflicting desiderata of majoritarianism by ordering them lexicographically. This contribution serves not just to remind ourselves that a 19th-century vintage may still retain excellent aroma and taste, but also to promote a promising general approach to reconcile potentially conflicting desiderata by accommodating them lexicographically.