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According to Wikipedia:[1]

In governance, sortition (also known as selection by lottery, selection by lot, allotment, demarchy, stochocracy, aleatoric democracy and lottocracy) is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.[2] Sortition is generally used for filling individual posts or, more usually in its modern applications, to fill collegiate chambers.[citation needed] The system intends to ensure that all competent and interested parties have an equal chance of holding public office. It also minimizes factionalism, since there would be no point making promises to win over key constituencies if one was to be chosen by lot, while elections, by contrast, foster it.[3] In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials, and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.[4]

Today, sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law systems and is sometimes used in forming citizen groups with political advisory power.[5]

Sortition can be combined with w:stratified sampling to reduce its randomness. While one may suspect that stratifying by known categories would lead to worse representation of unknown categories, it can be shown that even in the worst case, variance only increases by a small factor, and stratified sampling often significantly reduces variance.[6]


  1. See w:Sortition. Block cited coped from
  2. Landemore, Hélène (January 15, 2010). Deliberation, Representation, and the Epistemic Function of Parliamentary Assemblies: a Burkean Argument in Favor of Descriptive Representation (PDF). International Conference on “Democracy as Idea and Practice,” University of Oslo, Oslo January 13–15, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-08.
  3. Graeber, David (2013-04-09). The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement. Random House Inc. pp. 957–959. ISBN 978-0-679-64600-6. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  4. Headlam, James Wycliffe (1891). Election by Lot at Athens. The University Press. p. 12.
  5. Fishkin, James (2009). When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199604432.
  6. Benadè, Gerdus; Gölz, Paul; Procaccia, Ariel D. (2019-06-17). No Stratification Without Representation (PDF). New York, NY, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/3328526.3329578.