6. Learn about Voting

Voting Timetable

In every referendum cycle (24 hours for Cere Network), a new referendum will come up for a vote, assuming there is at least one proposal in one of the queues. There is a queue for Council-approved proposals (Council Motions) and a queue for publicly submitted proposals. The referendum to be voted upon alternates between the top proposal in the two queues.

The "top" proposal is determined by the amount of stake bonded behind it. If the given queue whose turn it is to create a referendum that has no proposals (is empty), and proposals are waiting in the other queue, the top proposal in the other queue will become a referendum.

Multiple referenda cannot be voted upon in the same period, excluding emergency referenda. An emergency referendum occurring at the same time as a regular referendum (either public- or council-proposed) is the only time that multiple referenda will be able to be voted on at once.

How Voting on a referendum works

To vote, a voter generally must lock their tokens up for at least the enactment delay period beyond the end of the referendum. This is in order to ensure that some minimal economic buy-in to the result is needed and to discourage vote selling.

It is possible to vote without locking at all, but your vote is worth a small fraction of a normal vote, given your stake. At the same time, holding only a small amount of tokens does not mean that the holder cannot influence the referendum result, thanks to time-locking.

We recommend checking out Polkadot's technical explainer video for a more hands-on overview.

For a more concrete example:

Peter: Votes No with 10 CERE for a 128-week lock period

=> 10 x 6 = 60 Votes

Logan: Votes Yes with 20 CERE for a 4-week lock period

=> 20 x 1 = 20 Votes

Kevin: Votes Yes with 15 CERE for an 8-week lock period

=> 15 x 2 = 30 Votes

Even though both Logan and Kevin vote with more CERE than Peter, the lock period for both of them is less than Peter, leading to their voting power counting as less.

Screen Shot 2023-06-06 at 4.10.15 PM.png


Depending on which entity proposed the proposal and whether all council members voted yes, there are three different scenarios. We can use the following table for reference.

We also require the following information and the application of one of the formulas listed below to calculate the voting result. For this example, we will use a public proposal and apply the Super-Majority Approve formula. While there is no strict quorum, the super-majority required increases with lower turnout.

Entity Metric
Public (Democracy Proposal) Positive Turnout Bias (Super-Majority Approve)
Council Motion (Complete agreement) Negative Turnout Bias (Super-Majority Against)
Council Motion (Majority agreement) Simple Majority

Important Tallying Terms

approve - the number of aye votes

against - the number of nay votes

turnout - the total number of voting tokens (does not include conviction)

electorate - the total number of tokens issued in the network

Super-Majority Approve

A "positive turnout bias" requires a heavy super-majority of "aye" votes to carry at low turnouts. However, as turnout increases towards 100%, a simple majority is all that is needed to carry the vote.

Super-Majority Against

A "negative turnout bias" occurs when a heavy super-majority of "nay" votes is required to reject a proposal at low turnouts, but as the turnout increases towards 100%, a simple majority carries the vote as shown below.


Majority-carries, a simple comparison of votes; if there are more aye votes than nay, then the proposal is carried, no matter how much stake votes on the proposal.

To know more about where these above formulas come from, please read the democracy pallet.

Example: Assume we only have 1_500 CERE tokens in total and that this is a public proposal.

John: 500 CERE

Peter: 100 CERE

Lilly: 150 CERE

JJ: 150 CERE

Ken: 600 CERE

John: Votes Yes for a 4 week lock period => 500 x 1 = 500 Votes

Peter: Votes Yes for a 4 week lock period => 100 x 1 = 100 Votes

JJ: Votes No for a 16 week lock period => 150 x 3 = 450 Votes

approve = 600

against = 450

turnout = 750

electorate = 1500

Since the example above is a public referendum, the Super-Majority Approve method will be used to calculate the result. This method requires more aye votes to pass the referendum when turnout is low. Therefore, based on the above result, the referendum will be rejected.

Additionally, only the winning voter's tokens are locked. If the voters on the losing side of the referendum believe that the outcome will have negative effects, their tokens are transferrable so they will not be locked into the decision. Winning proposals are autonomously enacted only after an enactment period.

Voluntary Locking

Cere Governance has implemented a concept called Voluntary Locking which allows token holders to increase their voting power by voluntarily locking up their tokens for a certain period of time. This is done by multiplying their tokens by a conviction multiplier which increases by one every time the number of lock periods doubles. The maximum number of doublings is set to 6, totaling 32 lock periods, with each lock period lasting for 28 days.

While tokens are locked, they can still be used for voting and staking, but cannot be transferred to another account. At the end of the voting period, votes are counted regardless of the length of time tokens were locked.

Lock Periods Vote Multiplier Length in Days
0 0.1 0
1 1 28
2 2 56
4 3 112
8 4 224
16 5 448
32 6 896

Adaptive Quorum Biasing

Adaptive Quorum Biasing is a concept from Polkadot ecosystem (Cere Network is Substrate-based) that is used by Cere Governance to alter the effective super-majority required to make it easier or more difficult for a proposal to pass when there is no clear majority of voting power backing it or against it. In this system, the council can use a lever to adjust the threshold of "aye" votes required to pass the proposal based on the voter turnout rate.

For publicly submitted referendums, if the turnout rate is low, then a super-majority is required to reject the proposal, which means a lower threshold of "aye" votes has to be reached, but as turnout increases towards 100%, it becomes a simple majority. For instance, if a referendum only has a 25% turnout, the tally of "aye" votes has to reach 66% to pass since Positive Turnout Bias is applied. Conversely, when it has a 75% turnout, the tally of "aye" votes has to reach 54%, which means that the super-majority required decreases as the turnout increases.

On the other hand, when the council proposes a new proposal through unanimous consent, the referendum would be put to a vote using Negative Turnout Bias. In this case, it is easier to pass this proposal with low turnout and requires a super-majority to reject. As more token holders participate in voting, the bias approaches a plain majority-carries system. Referring to the Adaptive Quorum Biasing image, when a referendum only has 25% turnout, the tally of "aye" votes has to reach 34% for it to pass.

All three tallying mechanisms, namely majority carries, super-majority approve, and super-majority against, equate to a simple majority-carries system at 100% turnout.

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