Symbolic voting systems

Symbolic voting methods, are one classes of voting. They are methods in which the voter can evaluate each candidate with a certain symbol among those of a set. Each symbol is associated with certain rules (like mathematical formulas) that describe how it works when counting. These rules can make it different from a cardinal value, although cardinal values can be treated as symbols. It's called Symbolic voting method if at least one non-cardinal symbol can be used by the voter on the ballot.

If the symbols can be sorted in some way, then the set of symbols is called "range of symbols", or even just "range" (in a Symbolic voting context). In this case there will be a maximum and minimum rating (extremes of the range), and possibly intermediate ratings.


A simple example of symbols are [worst] and [best], which can be used by a voter as a rating for a candidate, but which don't have an associated cardinal value. The rules that determine how to use these symbols in counting depend on the voting system.

On the extreme, the words of the language are symbols therefore a voting method in which the voters describe their interests, and then have them analyzed by an algorithm that finds the winning candidate, it could be considered a Symbolic voting systems.

Single Member Methods

Method Aggregation Symbols
Tragni's method Multiplication 2 + 5 or 9 cardinal in [1,5]
sC-TM Multiplication 1 + >1 cardinal in [1,MAX]
S-TM Sum 2 + >1 cardinal in [1,MAX]
SLE-TM Multiplication 2 + >1 cardinal in [1,MAX]
STAR-TM Multiplication 2 + >1 cardinal in [1,MAX]
E-TM Multiplication 6 + 3 cardinal


  • It can be difficult for a voter to understand how symbols work in counting.