Currently, over on CodeGolf.SE (CGCC for short), we are holding an informal election for new room owners of our main chat room. As this is an informal election, we haven't asked SE for the same mechanics they use in moderator elections - OpenSTV. Instead, we've just got a Q&A meta thread where each candidate has an answer. We were recently discussing what system of voting this was, but couldn't come to a conclusion or answer. So, what's the name of the voting system with the following criteria? Is this (or a similar style) used in real life elections anywhere?


  • There are a limited number of seats to be won, at least one fewer than the number of candidates
  • Each voter can vote for as many candidates as they like, but may only vote on each candidate a maximum of 1 time.
  • Votes may either be positive (+1) or negative (-1), and the winner(s) is taken by the top candidates when sorting by net score
  • The net votes (but not who voted for whom) are publicly shown/accessible to any voter
  • A bonus criteria: voters may change their vote at any point between voting opening and the results being tallied. This isn't as important as the others, so if you find a system that has all but this criteria, that's perfectly fine

It clearly isn't FPTP or STV. It isn't quite Multiple non-transferable voting, as voters cannot vote for every candidate in MNTV, nor does it have the concept of positive/negative votes. Approval voting and score voting are both very similar, but fail to account for negative votes

  • Slight nitpick - voters can't change their vote at any time, only shortly after their last vote/change or any time following when I edit every post to allow a vote change :P Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


This voting system is a variant of score voting with the possible scores "+1" (upvote), "0" (not voting) and "-1" (downvote).

Score voting means:

  • Each voter assigns a score to each candidate.
  • The scores must be within an allowed score range.
  • Those score assignments are independent of each other. Each voter can give as many or as few points as they want, as long as they don't give any candidate more or less than the allowed score range.
  • The winner is the candidate with the highest sum of scores. When n seats are to be assigned, the top n candidates get those seats.

However, you would usually want to avoid showing vote counts to people while the vote is ongoing. While score voting is not as susceptible to tactical voting based on what others will likely vote as, say, first-past-the-post, this information can still bias voters.

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