[What would have happened in many previous elections if they'd used score voting?
See these polls.]
Sometime between 20 and 200 million years ago
start using score voting
to decide new nest location each year.
≈700 to 146 BC with interruptions during 220-146; also 146 BC to 396 AD
as partially-autonomous Roman province
Although we generally hear in Civics Class
about how Athens was the birthplace of democracy...
that the Ancient Spartans
used score voting to make important collective decisions...
sort of. The Spartans employed these
democratic methods both before Athenian democracy started
(and also before the Northwest Indian Buddhist period democracies in 600 BC to 200 AD)
and after it ended, and thus appear to be
both the earliest and the longest lasting
substantially-democratic government in world history.
1268-1797 AD (and also democratic during some part of 726-1268 using earlier rules)
Note this is over
500 years of Range voting experience for both Venice and Sparta (each)
each more consecutive years of experience than any other election method has had.
Venice and Sparta were apparently the two longest-lasting governments
incorporating some democratic elements ever.
(Compare: Roman republic lasted only about 460 years before
the Roman Emperors took over. Athens democracy
only lasted about 200 years. USA so far: only about 220 years.
The English might qualify as champions if you date their "democracy" to the Magna
Charta in 1215, but I would not consider them as comparably democratic to Venice
until the 1700s.
Carthage's government involved both democratic and checks-and-balances principles
would be a legitimate contender for the longetivity crown, since it lasted from Carthage's founding
in 814 BC(?) until its utter destruction in 146 BC by the Romans, except that
Carthage apparently only became substantively democratic during the 400-300 BC century.
the city and all government and other records were destroyed, we know little about it.
For example, what sort of voting system(s) did the Carthaginians use?
That seems unknown (based on reading several books about Carthage).
Approval Voting was used for
selecting 41 Popes,
in a system instituted by Pope (and saint)
Celestine V, who then became one of the few Popes (perhaps the only one)
ever to resign before Benedict XVI (2005-2013) who
resigned a few years after I wrote this just to screw up this web page.
While the papacy can hardly be considered a democracy, it
has been probably the longest-lasting human institution on the face
of the earth, and during these years it was an extremely powerful position.
These conclusions summarize
my attempt to study all the approval-voting popes.
Poundstone in Gaming the Vote speculates this Pope-system
was probably inspired by the Venetian system
and cites a paper by
J.M. Colomer & Iain McLean:
Electing popes, approval balloting and qualified-majority rule (pdf),
J.Interdisciplinary History 29,1 (1998) 1-22; reprinted in
Politics and Political Change (MIT Press 2001, R.I.Rotberg ed.) 47-68.
They in turn cite the "Ordinarium Sanctae Romanae Eclesiae" by Cardinal Jacobi Gaytani.
Typical elections had about
40 voters and 20 candidates. Secret-ballot approval voting but with a 2/3
supermajority requirement was employed, with re-voting as many times as necessary (while
also introducing new candidates into the race as necessary) until
the winner exceeded that threshold. This could take a very long time –
Celestine V's election in 1294 famously took 2 years starting in 1292, which
presumably inspired his reforms of the election system –
and while that was improved by the use of approval rather than vote-for-one plurality voting,
the duration still seems to have been a big reason the old system was abandoned in 1622.
was encouraged by such rules as these: if it took longer than 3 days, the cardinals
were restricted to 2 simple meals per day; if it took longer than 8, their diet was
reduced to bread and water only; and the conclave was usually held in austere quarters with
One of the new
rules after the approval-based system was abandoned
was that the kings of France and Spain – and later Austria – were granted
veto power over the election of
any pope they found displeasing, albeit they only got to exercise one veto per election.
That rule operated until about 1910.)
Another problem was that during
repeated re-votes the totals for different candidates could and sometimes did change by
a lot as new information arose and/or as the strategic environment changed.
(For example, one Pope initially got zero approvals; and at least three times,
pope-candidates who got over 50% approval failed to win – since of course
the ultimate winner got still more approval.)
The 1900 Olympics (Paris)
and 1904 (St. Louis) both used score voting by a jury to
choose gymnastics winners.
Apparently the scores at that time were integers;
the use of decimals and the 0-10 scale had apparently not yet been
introduced. E.g. in 1900 Paris, the "Pointage"
for the "APPAREILS ET SERIES"
was an integer in the range [0,20]
15,16,17="tres bien" and 20="parfait"; the gymnast with the
highest point-total won.
In St. Louis the point system differed
from the Paris system.
(Some other gymnastics sub-competitions were objectively judged,
such as "rope climbing" where it was about time and distance.
But they don't do that one anymore.)
I do not know how the original 1896 (Athens) Olympics handled
the gymnastics competition. The Ancient Greek Olympics (held 794 BC to 394 AD)
had no subjectively-judged events. It also excluded
female athletes, although there were some female horse-breeder/owner
entrants in the chariot races, such
as Cynisca (or Cynistra?) of Sparta (who won in 396 and 392 BC)
and there was a separate women's Olympics
(the "Heraea Games") held less-frequently at the same site.
John C. Harsanyi (winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics)
points out that Arrow's impossibility theorem
does not apply to score voting. He is largely ignored.
(The same observation was rediscovered
by at least three more people.)
Guy Ottewell invents approval voting and
then at least 5 political science professors also independently invent
it during the 1970s. (Meanwhile the United Nations,
founded in 1945,
had been using a system essentially the same as Approval
all along to elect their secretary general. This was an excellent
– and in the opinion of all highly universally-successful –
part of the UN's political design ...unlike the UN's and the European Union's
"veto power" rules which were an awesomely bad political design that
served as a surefire recipe for paralysis.)
Approval voting employed to elect
China's National People's Congress,
theoretically the top governing body in China (as well as
the largest parliamentary body in the world).
Many other local positions presumably also were elected via approval voting
(as well as other systems – which system depends on the location)
after the passage of the Organic Elections Law of 1987.
S.J.Brams & P.C.Fishburn publish book
Approval voting employed in thousands of elections in
Soviet Union in experiment in democratization started
by M.S.Gorbachev. All the seats affected were local
and only about 5% of them were to be elected in this manner, i.e. this
was an "experiment." The USSR collapsed a few years later and nobody I've found
has been able to produce a good assessment of the results of this experiment.
Warren D. Smith
conducts the first Bayesian Regret study comparing
different voting systems and including score voting as a contender. Finds
score voting superior to all others tried, very robustly to changes in
Jan Kok discovers
how to do score voting with ordinary voting machines
designed for plurality voting (no modification or reprogramming required).
Kok & Smith co-found
(By 2010 this website has grown to contain over 1000 pages.)
The Boston Tea party holds some
elections using approval voting.
For example they used approval to
nominate Charles Jay
for USA president.
(Their system has repeated-ballot rounds under certain circumstances, which did not arise here.)
Jay received a grand total of 2422 votes
in the later general election (only got on ballot
in three states). It is depressing that tiny parties mostly regarded as "fringe"
or "strange" are intellectually well ahead
of the "mainstream" USA parties when it comes to voting systems.
The Pirate party of Germany
(so-called because of their main issues: internet freedom and repeal of copyright laws)
using an approval voting system. (See especially rules 126.96.36.199-188.8.131.52.)
For example they elected
In the Sept. 2009 general election this party received 845904 votes.
In the 2011 Berlin state
election, the Piratenpartei won 8.9% of the votes and 15 out of the 141 seats
in in the Abgeordnetenhaus (German state parliament).
Both the Boston Tea and Pirate Party rules allow any voter to vote for any subset of the
candidates as well as for "NOTA" (None Of The Above). Most approved candidate wins.
HB240, sponsored by
representatives Dan McGuire, Cameron DeJong, Seth Cohn, and Spec Bowers,
will switch New Hampshire over to approval voting.
But as of March 2011, this bill had failed to win passage.
There have also been other approval-voting-enaction bills in other
US state legislatures with other sponsors in other years, but
up to 2011, none have succeeded.