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under majority rule systems that require an absolute majority, a method of voting that ensures conclusive results from an election and thus eliminates the need for a second round of balloting. In preferential voting, voters mark their preferences on the ballot, indicating with the numbers 1, 2, 3, and so on the candidates who are their choices, in order of preference. When the results are first tallied, the first-choice votes are counted. If no one receives an absolute majority, the votes given to the last-place candidate are redistributed among the other candidates, and the last-place candidate is eliminated. This procedure is repeated until some candidate achieves the necessary majority of votes.
Different forms of preferential voting (alternative voting, the single transferrable vote system) are used in Ireland, India, and Australia. Preferential voting may also be used, as it is in Italy, to supplement a proportional system; in this case it serves to determine which candidates on the party slate receive the right to terms of office.