CIVS is a free Internet voting service that makes it easy to conduct polls that are secure and anonymous. Each voter ranks a set of possible choices. Individual voter rankings are combined into an anonymous overall ranking of the choices. CIVS has been used for tens of thousands of polls and elections, to decide, for example:

  • Officers of organizations
  • Meeting times
  • Members of committees
  • Project and domain names
  • Award recipients
  • Restaurants
  • Movies
  • Party menus
  • Book club selections
  • Favorite music
  • Gifts
  • Logos
  • Project directions
  • Invited speakers
  • Organization bylaws

How it works: Anyone may create a new CIVS poll, but only authorized voters will know about it. Voters and the poll supervisor must have e-mail and web access. When a poll is created, voters are e-mailed with a URL where they can vote. Public polls may be created that do not require voters to have e-mail addresses; in this case, one vote is allowed per IP address.

Why rank choices? With CIVS, voters rank their choices rather than just picking their one favorite choice. This process gives accurate results because it collects more information from voters. It also helps avoid vote splitting and spoilers.

Ranked-choice voting is used in real elections. For example, Australia uses Single Transferable Vote (STV, also known as IRV). However, CIVS is fairer than IRV because it chooses a candidate who wins all head-to-head contests with other candidates. In contrast, IRV can elect a candidate even though a majority of voters would prefer someone else, and it has in real elections. Unlike most other Condorcet systems, CIVS also has a proportional representation mode.