Dartmouth College Student Assembly (Switched away from instant runoff voting)
San Francisco State University (uses approval voting for faculty electorate, library, and academic senate)
Netherlands 2015 – The municipality of Landerd voted to determine how or whether it merged with other municipalities. Approval voting was used among six options.
Oregon – In 1990, Oregon used approval voting in a statewide advisory referendum on school financing (Measure 5). This referendum presented voters with five different options and allowed them to vote for as many as they wished.
Political parties in some US states have used approval voting. For example, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party State Committee conducted its 1983 presidential straw poll using approval voting.
In 1987, a bill to enact approval voting for certain statewide elections passed in the Senate but not the House in North Dakota.
In 2011, representatives in New Hampshire proposed HB 240 (2011), which would have implemented approval voting for all statewide offices and presidential primaries.
In 2013, a Democrat and Republican from Colorado’s state congress proposed SB 13-065. This bill would have given all Colorado municipalities the right to adopt Approval Voting for non-partisan elections. The bill was supported by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R). [This should in no way be interpreted as an endorsement of Scott Gessler.] Despite bipartisan sponsorship and endorsements from both Common Cause and GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler, the Senate State Affairs Committee killed the bill on a 3-2 vote.
In October, 2013, petitioners in Oregon launched a ballot initiative drive to establish a “unified primary election” in place of Oregon’s current closed partisan primary. This type of primary lets voters use approval voting to choose any number of candidates irrespective of party and advances the top two (regardless of party) to the general election. This proposed initiative was unable to raise the necessary signatures to get on the ballot.
In 2014, the same two Colorado Senators from 2013 reintroduced the bill proposed as HB 14-1062. Again, this bill would have given localities the option to use approval voting in nonpartisan elections. The bill was supported by the ACLU, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and all three of Colorado’s three ballot-qualified minor parties. Despite this, the Military affairs committe struck down the bill 3-8.
Many Olympic sports, such as gymnastics and figure skating, use Score Voting to select their winners.
Renaissance Venice used a (-1, 0, 1) scale version of score voting for government elections.
Ancient Sparta used a crude yelling (continuous variable) form of score voting where the candidate with (quite literally) the most vocal support won.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron is the Executive Director of The Center for Election Science. He's written articles for Deadspin, Bust Magazine, USA Today Magazine, Independent Voter Network, and others. He's been featured in Popular Mechanics, NPR, and MSNBC.com for his expertise on voting methods. On other causes, he's been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, MIT Technology Review, Salon, The Telegraph, and dozens of others. Aaron is also a licensed attorney with two additional graduate degrees in the social sciences. For leisure, Aaron also enjoys lockpicking, jiu-jitsu, and indoor bouldering.