Range voting (also called ratings summation, average voting, cardinal ratings, score voting, 0–99 voting, or the score system or point system) is a voting system for one-seat elections under which voters score each candidate, the scores are added up, and the candidate with the highest score wins. Range voting was used in all public elections in Ancient Sparta in the form of measuring how loud the crowd shouted for different candidates. Range voting with three levels was used in elections in Renaissance Venice, including when fewer than 50 voters cast ballots to elect the Doge between 1268 and 1797. Approval voting can be considered to be range voting with only 2 levels [approved (1) and disapproved (0)].
In some competitions subject to judges' scores, a truncated mean is used to remove extreme scores. For example, range voting with truncated means is used in figure skating competitions to avoid the results of the third skater affecting the relative positions of two skaters who have already finished their performances (the independence of irrelevant alternatives), using truncation to mitigate biases of some judges who have ulterior motives to score some competitors too high or low.
Another method of counting ratings ballots is to find the median score of each candidate, and elect the candidate with the highest median score. This could have the effect of reducing the incentive to exaggerate. A potential disadvantage is that multiway exact ties for winner may become common, while in conventional range voting, such ties would be extremely rare. Another problem with medians is, e.g, that adding an "all-zero ballot" can alter the election winner.
Range voting in which only two different votes may be submitted (0 and 1, for example) is equivalent to approval voting. As with approval voting, range voters must weigh the adverse impact on their favorite candidate of ranking other candidates highly.
Range voting has been used informally by various amateur clubs to determine dates and venues for events like seasonal dinners. In one variant, any club member who wants to propose a date/time or restaurant writes it down on a whiteboard. All other members can each vote once for each new option; either by adding +1 to the total (in favour), casting no vote (neutral), or by subtracting one from the total (disapproval). At the end of the season, the club goes to the restaurant with the most votes, at the date and time with the most votes.
|Memphis||420 (42 * 10)||0 (26 * 0)||0 (15 * 0)||0 (17 * 0)||420|
|Nashville||168 (42 * 4)||260 (26 * 10)||90 (15 * 6)||85 (17 * 5)||603|
|Chattanooga||84 (42 * 2)||104 (26 * 4)||150 (15 * 10)||119 (17 * 7)||457|
|Knoxville||0 (42 * 0)||52 (26 * 2)||90 (15 * 6)||170 (17 * 10)||312|
Range voting satisfies the monotonicity criterion, i.e. raising your vote's score for a candidate can never hurt his chances of winning. Also, in range voting, casting a sincere vote can never result in a worse election winner (from your point of view) than if you had simply abstained from voting. Range voting passes the favorite betrayal criterion, meaning that it never gives voters an incentive to rate their favorite candidate lower than a candidate they like less. Range voting advocates contend that this is a good property, because it leads to higher average voter satisfaction when voters are honest, and still gives voters the choice to strategically lower their scores for less preferred candidates if they choose.
Range voting is independent of clones in the sense that if there is a set of candidates such that every voter gives the same rating to every candidate in this set, then the probability that the winner is in this set is independent of how many candidates are in the set.
In summary, range voting satisfies the monotonicity criterion, the favorite betrayal criterion, the participation criterion, the consistency criterion, independence of irrelevant alternatives, resolvability criterion, and reversal symmetry. It is immune to cloning, except for the obvious specific case in which a candidate with clones ties, instead of achieving a unique win. It does not satisfy either the Condorcet criterion (i.e. is not a Condorcet method) or the Condorcet loser criterion. It does not satisfy the majority criterion, but it satisfies a weakened form of it: a majority can force their choice to win, although they might not exercise that capability.
As it satisfies the criteria of a deterministic voting system, with non-imposition, non-dictatorship, monotonicity, and independence of irrelevant alternatives, it may appear that it violates Arrow's impossibility theorem. The reason that range voting is not regarded as a counter-example to Arrow's theorem is that it is a cardinal voting system, while Arrow's theorem is restricted to the processing of ordinal preferences.
However, there are examples in which voting maximum and minimum scores for all candidates is not optimal. Exit poll experiments have shown that voters tend to vote more sincerely for candidates they perceive have no chance of winning. Thus range voting may yield higher support for third party and independent candidates than other common voting methods, creating what has been called the "nursery effect", unless those candidates become viable.
Because range voting produces lower Bayesian regret than other methods, even when voters are strategic, many range voting advocates believe it is the most resistant voting method to strategic voting.
Guy Ottewell, who coined the term approval voting, now endorses range voting. No elected official in the United States is known to endorse range voting.
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