The voting method of the internet age — and the best way for a group of people to make a collective decision.
Easy: Score Vote. Voters rate each option on the ballot (for example, from 0-10), just like rating a product on Amazon.com, a restaurant on Yelp, or a movie on IMDb. When the voting is completed, the scores are tallied, and the option with the highest total score wins.
Score Voting means that voters can express their preferences for any and all options on the ballot instead of being forced to pick only one. Because — when all the voters’ scores are added up — Score Voting clearly indicates the option with the broadest overall support, it is the best way for a group of people to make a collective decision.
What is Score Voting?
Score Voting is a single-winner voting system where voters rate candidates on a scale. The candidate with the highest rating wins.
Score Voting highlights:
- Extremely expressive
- No vote splitting or spoilers, ever
- Always vote your honest favorite
- Less spoiled ballots than Plurality and ranked systems
- Results are easy to understand, just like Plurality
- Can easily be used with modern election machines, unlike ranked systems
- Alternate candidates get a more accurate measure of support
Score Voting has voters rate candidates or choices on a scale. This is similar to Internet Movie Database or the website Hot or Not. Score Voting is also sometimes referred to as Range Voting because voters rate options along a range of values. The names are interchangeable.
Technical notes: Simplified forms of Score Voting automatically give skipped candidates the lowest possible score for the ballot they were skipped. Other forms have those ballots not affect the candidate’s rating at all. Those forms not affecting the candidates rating frequently make use of quotas. Quotas demand a minimum proportion of voters rate that candidate in some way before that candidate is eligible to win.
Below we have two different Score Voting ballots. The one on the left uses a 0-9 scale. On the right is a simplified version with a 0-2 scale.
Voters score each candidate on the ballot. These ballots can be used with modern election machines. CES board member Jan Kok, an engineer, demonstrates this here. Note that this is not an endorsement of using computers to count votes.
Both Score and Approval Voting are cardinal systems. Cardinal systems use utility expressions that do not involve ranking. Voters are also permitted to have a say on all the choices. Approval Voting is a simplified form of Score Voting. When voters only use the extremes of the scale, then Score Voting reverts to Approval Voting. Data from a 2007 French study strongly suggest that many voters will use the middle of the scale as well. And to the extent voters use the middle of the scale to vote more honestly, Score Voting provides a better outcome than Approval Voting, on average. (See Bayesian Regret). Score voting, like Approval Voting, doubles the winner utility compared to both Plurality and Instant Runoff Voting. This conclusion considers the strategic voting we see in real life (See Bayesian Regret).