RangeVoting.org The Center for Range Voting

If you were trying to design the worst method to vote:

Candidate Your Vote
EISENHOWER, Dwight D. 60
HARDING, Warren G. 5
RASPUTIN, Grigori 0
CHIRAC, Jacques 25
LINCOLN, Abraham 99
PEROT, H. Ross X
ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. 50
FIGURE illustrates a hypothetical ballot on
a voting-with-numbers machine's display screen.
But – That is our voting-system today!

There's a better way: voting-with-numbers.

You've all seen voting-with-numbers in the Olympics. Judges give merit-numbers to the competitors, then the victor is the one who has the topmost average. Similarly, in an election, voters give numbers to the candidates, then the victor is the candidate who has the topmost average.

Voting-with-numbers permits voters to express their opinions about any subset of candidates (not only one). It eliminates these pathologies: "ruiner," and "wasted vote" and "candidate-clone." It is so simple, that it will function on all of today's machines for voting.

Example Valedictorians
RV poll for US President 2008

How voting-with-numbers functions:

  1. Each vote consists of: a number within some interval (for example 0 to 99) for each candidate. Simpler is 0 to 9 ("single-digit voting-with-numbers"). Voters may also write "X" or "NO-OPINION" if they have no opinion about a candidate. X-votes don't affect that candidate's average.
  2. Andrews 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NO-OPINION
    Benson 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NO-OPINION
    Carey 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NO-OPINION
    Davis 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NO-OPINION
    Elbert 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NO-OPINION
    For example, "Andrews=9, Benson=0, Carey=3, Davis=9, Elbert=X" could be your vote in a voting-with-numbers election, where 9 means best and X means "NO-OPINION."
  3. The winner is the candidate with the topmost average... except
  4. We eliminate candidates who do not have a quorum; a victorious candidate's total must be at least 50% of any candidate's sum. This prevents candidates triumphing if they have few numerical votes (and many "X"s).

CRV's objectives:

  1. It educates the public about the advantages of voting-with-numbers, and comparative disadvantages of other systems (especially today's USA's embarrassingly poor "plurality" system),
  2. It lobbies for it.
  3. But CRV also supports research into (and is unbiased concerning) all voting-systems. Indeed, CRV, for some objectives, advocates other systems. CRV is nonpartisan.

To learn more:   Current missions, longer term strategic plan, and the Iowa 08 project.

Virtues of Voting-With-Numbers

  1. EXPRESSIVE: You give information about all candidates, and not about only one.
  2. QUANTITATIVE: Your vote says more than "you prefer candidate A over B"; it also says by how much.
  3. IT INSPIRES HONESTY, NOT STRATEGY: Your number for candidate C is irrelevant to the battle between A versus B. Therefore, you can give your honest opinion about C without fearing "wasting your vote" and without hurting A. You never have an incentive to betray your favorite candidate by giving a bigger number to a worse candidate. (This seems an obvious and easy criterion, but very few other voting-systems obey it!) The smaller importance of "convincing voters that you can triumph" (in contrast to "convincing them that you are the best") may diminish the importance of money.
  4. IT IS UNAFFECTED BY CANDIDATE TWINNING: Consider the situation where A has "twins" A2 and A3. In the old "plurality-voting" system, the triplets "split the vote" and lose. In the "Borda voting" system, a political party assures victory merely by bringing enough twins. In contrast, in voting-with-numbers, A is not harmed and is not helped. There is no enmity between alike candidates.
  5. IT TERMINATES STRANGLEHOLD OF 2-PARTY DOMINATION SO VOTERS WILL HAVE MORE CHOICES: Plurality & "Instant Runoff Voting" yield 2-party domination. "voting-with-approvals" is better than those systems because it allows voters to vote for all the candidates that they approve – with no inherent penalty for approving a candidate from a 3rd-party. But voting-with-numbers is more better, since it experimentally yields much greater support for 3rd-parties than "voting-with-approvals." Having more parties should also diminish the importance of gerrymandering, and enlarge enthusiasm & turnout.
  6. TODAY'S VOTING-MACHINES CAN DIGEST VOTING-WITH-NUMBERS: But that is not true for "Instant Runoff" and Condorcet.
  7. THE "DEFEATS-ALL" CANDIDATE TRIUMPHS: A defeats-all candidate is one who would defeat every other candidate in man-versus-man races. Counterintuitively, in many voting-systems "defeats all" candidates do not always prevail. (Indeed, today's system can easily elect a "lose to all" candidate.) But in voting-with-numbers (under certain assumptions about strategic voter behavior) the defeats-all candidate always triumphs.
  8. MAXIMIZES PLEASANT SURPRISE: A voter is "pleasantly surprised" when the election's victor is better than she expected. It is a theorem that voting-with-numbers (under certain assumptions about strategic voter behavior) maximizes the number of pleasantly surprised voters.
  9. FEWER "SPOILED BALLOTS" and LESS FRAUD: In plurality-voting, an accidental "hanging chad" or plural vote, can destroy your vote. With voting-with-numbers, a "hanging chad" causes only part of your vote to be discarded (converted to "no opinion"), and with the remainder – your opinions about all the other candidates – still operational. There is no problem about "plural votes," because expressing opinions about all candidates is the idea; there is no "illegal way" to mark a ballot. Voting-with-numbers also diminishes risk of EQUALITIES.
  10. USING SCIENTIFIC CRITERIA, VOTING-WITH-NUMBERS IS THE BEST SYSTEM: For the mathematicians... voting-with-numbers has the lowest BAYESIAN SADNESS among all common single-winner election methods. (That was discovered from massive computer simulations for all 720 tried combinations of the following: number V of voters and N of candidates with V>N>2, several kinds of "utility generators", several amounts of "voter ignorance," and with either "honest" or "strategic" voters.)
  11. HUGE POSITIVE IMPACT: "Democracy" bettered both monarchy and feudalism. We can express that improvement as a number by using the Bayesian sadness yardstick and assuming, e.g, that these nondemocratic systems bettered "random victor." Measurements on this same yardstick suggest that to change plurality-voting to voting-with-numbers, would cause at least as much further diminishing of sadness.
  12. NATURE USES VOTING-WITH-NUMBERS: Honeybees & ants have had trillions of elections over the last 20-50 million years to make decisions about hive relocation. Under severe evolutionary pressure, they invented... voting-with-numbers!