Majority Voting

December 16, 2011

In an election, the winner is required to have the majority of the votes. For instance, with the set of votes {A A A C C B B C C C B C C}, the winner is C with 7 of 13 votes. Some elections have no winner; with the set of votes {A B C A B C A}, A gets a plurality of the votes but not a majority, so there is no winner. You can think of voting as a political election, or as redundant hardware in a critical system where a failure of one component must not lead to failure of the overall system.

Your task is to write a function that determines the winner of a vote, or indicates that no candidate reached a majority. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.


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13 Responses to “Majority Voting”

  1. DGel said

    simple solution in python:

    def majority(A):
    min = len(A)/2.0
    counts = {}
    for x in A:
    if x in counts:
    counts[x] += 1
    counts[x] = 1
    a = max(counts.iteritems(), key = lambda x: x[1])
    if a[1] > min:
    print "The winner is:", a[0]
    print "There is no winner"

  2. DGel said

    Sorry, thought that would work.. pastebin then:

  3. kawas said

    Clojure version of the naive candidate counting using built-in “frequencies”

    (defn majority [xs]
      (let [goal (/ (count xs) 2)
            xs-f (frequencies xs)]
          (filter #(> (second %) goal) xs-f))))

    Implementation of the Boyer and Moore mjrty function

    (defn mjrty [xs]
      (let [goal (/ (count xs) 2)
            pick (fn [[cand n] c]
                     (= cand c) [cand (inc n)]
                     (zero? (dec n)) [c 1]
                     :else [cand (dec n)]))
            countc (fn [cand]
                     (reduce #(if (= cand %2) (inc %1) %1) 0 xs))]
        (when-let [cand (first (reduce pick [nil 1] xs))]
          (when (> (countc cand) goal) cand))))
  4. Graham said

    It may be cheating, but one of Python’s got very useful modules is collections:

    #!/usr/bin/env python
    from collections import Counter
    def majority(votes):
        C = Counter(votes)
        maj = sum(C.itervalues()) / 2.0  # possibly faster than len(votes)
        pair = C.most_common(1)[0]
        return pair[0] if pair[1] > maj else None
    if __name__ == "__main__":
        print majority(['a', 'b', 'a', 'b', 'a'])
        print majority(['a', 'a', 'a', 'c', 'c', 'b', 'b', 'c', 'c', 'c', 'b', 'c', 'c'])
        print majority(['a', 'b', 'c', 'a', 'b', 'a'])
  5. My python 2.7.x solution:

    from itertools import groupby
    maj = lambda lv: (filter(lambda x: x[1] > len(lv)/2,[(key,len(list(val))) for (key,val) in groupby(sorted(lv))]) + [('Nobody',-1)])[0][0]

    In order to test the above function:

    print maj(['A', 'B', 'B', 'B', 'A', 'C', 'D', 'A', 'E', 'B', 'B', 'B'])
    print maj(['A', 'B', 'B', 'B', 'A', 'C', 'D', 'A', 'E', 'B', 'B', 'B', 'B'])

    And the output should be:

  6. Jussi Piitulainen said

    The data types in R are so subtle that it is no fun, but there is expressive power in there. The table-making function counts each element in the vote vector, and arranges the elements as names for the corresponding counts. The index expression compares twice each count to the total number of votes, and the resulting vector of truth values selects those names whose count makes the comparison true.

    win <- function (votes) {
      counts <- table(votes)
      names(counts)[counts + counts > length(votes)]

    Splitting a string results in a list that contains the result, which must then be extracted from that list. The vector of winners contains the winner if there is winner, and is empty if there is no winner.

    > win(strsplit('A A A C C B B C C C B C C', ' ')[[1]])
    [1] "C"
    > win(strsplit('A B C A B C A', ' ')[[1]])

  7. Shubham Sharma said

    void voting(char str[]){
    int l,ch[300],max=0,i;
    char winner;


    winner= i;

    if (max>=l/2){
    printf("%c is the winner in the voting with %d percentage votes",winner,max*100/l);
    printf("No one GOT MAJORITY votes");

  8. Neban said

    A Common Lisp solution:

    (defun winner (votes)
    with hash = (make-hash-table)
    with needed = (/ (length votes) 2)
    for vote in votes
    when (> (incf (gethash vote hash 0)) needed)
    return vote))

    ? (winner ‘(A B C A A C C A))
    ? (winner ‘(A B C A A A C C A))

  9. Neban said

    Opps, formating went wrong.

    (defun winner (votes)
    with hash = (make-hash-table)
    with needed = (/ (length votes) 2)
    for vote in votes
    when (> (incf (gethash vote hash 0)) needed)
    return vote))

    ? (winner ‘(A B C A A C C A))
    ? (winner ‘(A B C A A A C C A))
    [/sourcecode lang]

  10. slabounty said

    In ruby …

    def majority(l)
        h =
        l.each { |v| h[v] += 1 }
        max = h.max {|a,b| a[1] <=> b[1]}
        max[1] >= l.length / 2.0 ? "#{max[0]} won with #{max[1]} out of #{l.length} total votes" : "No winner"
    v1 = %w[A A A C C B B C C C B C C]
    v2 = %w[A B C A B C A]
    puts "v1 = #{majority(v1)}"
    puts "v2 = #{majority(v2)}"
  11. Nelson said

    Java version~~

    a little long compared with others. :)

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