Voting Methods


Who uses Approval Voting?



Political Parties

  • Colorado Libertarian Party
  • Texas Libertarian Party
  • Texas Green Party
  • Reform Party (US National)
  • German Pirate Party
  • Modern Whig Party (US National)



  • Dartmouth College Student Assembly (Switched away from instant runoff voting)
  • San Francisco State University (uses approval voting for faculty electorate, library, and academic senate)

Past uses

  • 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.
  • Cardinals of the Catholic Church used approval voting to select the Pope from 1294 to 1621.
  • The Greek parliament was elected using approval voting from 1864-1926.

Approval voting attempts for public elections

  • 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.

Who uses Score Voting?

Political Parties

  • German Pirate Party (North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • German Pirate Party (Lower Saxony)


  • The Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the largest democratic club in San Francisco, uses score voting for their endorsements.
  • uses a score voting procedure to develop rankings for every NBA player from number 500 to number 1.
  • Mozilla, the organization that makes the popular Firefox web browser, uses Score Voting to select Mentors for their Mozilla Reps program.
  • The Fedora Project, a partnership of free software community members from around the globe, uses Score Voting to select their board members.
  • The Central Co-op, an independent, member-owned natural foods cooperative in Seattle, WA, uses Score Voting for their Inside Trustee Elections.
  • The San Francisco FrontRunners, a running club, uses Score Voting to select which charity to donate their proceeds to.
  • NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association, used Score Voting to identify the best and worst flags on the continent.
  • The Webby Awards celebrates achievement found online. They use score voting in their initial round and then approval voting for their final round.
  • The Green Party of Utah uses score voting to elect party officers.

Entertainment & Sports

  • American Idol (selecting winnners)
  • The Voice (selecting winners)
  • Dancing with the Stars (selecting winners)
  • The Miss America Pageant (selecting finalists)
  • Iron Chef (selecting winners)
  • Top Chef (selecting winners)
  • Cupcake Wars (selecting winners)
  • Many Olympic sports, such as gymnastics and figure skating, use Score Voting to select their winners.

Historical uses

  • 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.