To improve upon traditional democracy, various alternatives to the normal up down voting have been put forth such as range voting. (Range voting is a voting method for one-seat elections under which voters score each candidate, the scores are added up, and the candidate with the highest score wins.) For example RangeVoting.org describes how range voting could work.

I believe that San Francisco has experimented with something akin to this for their mayoral races.

What are the largest elections that have had some variant of range voting applied and how successful were the results? Were the constituents happy with the outcomes and did range voting remain in place or was it repealed?

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    i know of some private elections that have been held, but no public elections… Dec 5, 2012 at 0:16
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    To improve your question, can you summarise briefly what range voting is? Links can die and even if that's unlikely on Wikipedia, it's good if questions are as much as possible self-contained.
    – gerrit
    Dec 5, 2012 at 22:17
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    In 2002, San Francisco adopted what they call Ranked-Choice Voting for Mayor and several other city offices. This is like Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV). If that's the San Francisco experiment to which you refer, then it's not Range Voting. Jan 9, 2013 at 8:39
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    Is range voting a variation on Instant Run-off? If so, there are examples of Instant Run-off voting being used.
    – user1530
    Apr 8, 2013 at 18:06
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    @DA No, in Instant run off, the candidates are ordered, whereas in Range voting, each is given a score. (e.g. two candidates can have same score as they are equally desirable.)
    – WilliamKF
    Apr 8, 2013 at 18:25

4 Answers 4


No, San Francisco used an IRV system, not Range.

No Nation has ever used RV, but I believe the UN does for electing the Secretary General, and the Olympics for ranking divers, gymnastics, etc. And of course this system is used for product reviews on Amazon and such.

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    United Nations Secretary-General selection: The straw polls have 3 categories of "Discourage", "No opinion" and "Encourage", but otherwise doesn't sound much like Range.
    – endolith
    Jan 5, 2017 at 2:58
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    @endolith Actually, since the "encourage" votes are added up ("discourage" and "no opinion" are ignored), this makes it approval voting. And since Approval voting is a special case of Range Voting, I'd say Xnihilo is technically right that range voting is used in that UN process.
    – B T
    Dec 7, 2017 at 21:11
  • @BT But the straw polls are not binding, and are repeated over and over until a nominee is found. It's very far removed from range voting. Supposedly Venice had a 3-point system with green/red/white balls, but I can't find a reliable source.
    – endolith
    Dec 7, 2017 at 23:02
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    @endolith According to the description on wikipedia, it looks like it is something that could be called binding as one step of the process. Its certainly not your normal score voting method tho for sure.
    – B T
    Dec 9, 2017 at 0:02

Yes, range voting is used quite frequently. Consider any time You've ever been asked to rate something on a scale of, say, 0 to 10. IMDB.com and reviewing apps in the Apple app store come to Mind, as do Yelp and Priceline. While these examples do not involve nations, the rating system used by these are exactly what range voting is. I find it hard to imagine People using the rating systems associated with these are saying, "Hey, Charlie, Ya know what? I like giving this movie 9 out of 10 stars but I'd be so much happier if I could only tell the site what My favorite movie is and had to use a system where I couldn't give any information about other movies I like simply because I like them less."


This isn't the best source, but supposedly the Doge of Venice was elected using a 3-point Score/Range system for over 500 years, by placing balls in colored urns.

(Actually it might also be Combined approval voting, since the votes includes a connotation of "for" and "against".)

The Green Party of Utah used Range Voting on a 0-9 scale to elect officers in 2017. There's an analysis on Electowiki. They said:

We fully intend to utilize this system again next year, and would encourage other state parties to consider doing the same. I have heard concerns that it could be "too complicated". I feel that rating something on a scale of 1-10 (or 0-9 in this case) is a pretty basic concept. There was little to no confusion about how to do it. As far as complications tabulating the results... the spreadsheet did all of the dirty work. We just transposed the numbers from the ballot into the spreadsheet, and let the program do the math. We double-checked the results, and had a result very quickly.

It's not clear whether they've continued to use it, though.


Having researched this topic and having found no examples I would like to answer the question: No.


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