Closer Look at the Center for Election Science

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by Aaron Hamlin

The Center for Election Science is one of few nonprofits in the U.S. that focuses on voting methods—and we do it better than anyone.  Election reform has focused almost exclusively on issues like the right to vote, campaign finance, election fraud, and, to a lesser extent, ballot access. It’s not that we don’t appreciate other election-related issues. We do. But we put voting methods at the top.

Approval Voting Example

Approval Voting Example

You can take the world where you get everything you want except superior voting methods. But it’s not a good place. You wind up with worse winners and an inaccurate measure of support from the remaining candidates. Democracy deserves better. Unfortunately, voters often believe that ignoring favorites is intrinsic to elections. It’s not, we just happen to use a bad method. At The Center for Election Science, we believe that being able to vote for your favorite candidate is one of the most important parts of voting.

Bringing more honesty to voting is one of the many reasons we promote Approval Voting. What’s Approval Voting? Simply choose all the candidates you prefer (no ranking). Most votes wins. That’s it. You can always vote your honest favorite. Want to tactically hedge your bets against more competitive candidates? You can do that too—all at the same time.

When elections go awry, we let you know why, whether it’s from our vote-for-one Plurality, a ranking method, or even a runoff. And, most importantly, we’ll remind you that there are solutions.

Don’t forget. Just because government elections tend to use poor methods doesn’t mean you have to. Part of our mission is to help improve democracy for everyone, even at the organization level. We’re in the business of making democracy both smart and easy. So check us out at


  1. Michael Ossipoff says

    I agree that being able to support your favorite is by far the most important requirement for a voting system, and is the essential thing that is missing from our current voting system (Plurality).

    Yes, honesty in voting is essential. Without it, when voters have to abandon what they most want, voting becomes a joke, and elections become a farce. …and the result is made into nonsense that has no relation to what people want.

    With Approval, everyone can fully support all that they like, all that they’d want–which of course will always include their favorite.

    Approval elects the candidate liked, wanted, trusted by the most people.

    That would be so different from what we have now, that it would result in societal improvement that really isn’t even imaginable now, when people are used to holding their nose to vote for what they least dislike. Voting would be hopeful and positivea, rather than resigned, cowed and dismal.

    That societal improvement would be gotten by just adding two words to the ballot:

    Where it now says “Vote for 1”, it would instead say “Approve 1 or more”.

    Plurality’s requrement to bottom-rate all but one of the candidates amounts to a requirement to falsify your relative ratings of the candidates, resulting in many or most peoples’ ballots being falsified.

    That could qualify as a basis for a voting-rights court case against Plurality.

    And I too, recommend Approval as the best proposal to replace Plurality.

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