Wikimedia explicit approval elections

From electowiki

Wikimedia and Wikipedia elections are held using a voting system equivalent to Explicit approval voting, in which voters must choose Support, Oppose, or Neutral for every candidate. The winner is the candidate with the highest support percentage: the highest proportion of Support votes out of combined Support and Oppose votes = S/(S+O).

An explicit approval ballot for a Wikipedia Arbitration Committee election, which defaults to abstention

Approval voting is generally equivalent to 2-level Score voting (where the levels are "0" and "1"). Wikimedia's variant is equivalent to 2-level Score voting where voters may explicitly abstain, and the default choice is to abstain. The levels in Wikimedia's system imply (−1, +1) rather than (0, 1), so they may be affected by the psychological consequences of disapproval voting.[1]


The Wikimedia Foundation has used this method for Board of Trustees and Funds Dissemination Committee elections in 2013, 2015, and 2017, after previously using Approval voting and Schulze method. After that, it was replaced by STV with Droop quota and Meeks method.

If tallied using score voting rules (i.e. using "combined approval voting", where oppose equals "−1", neutral equals "0", and support equals "+1"), the 2015 Wikimedia Board election would have had a different winner, with the candidate in 4th place moving up to 2nd. The 2017 Board and 2015 FDC elections would have had a different top-3 order, but the same 3 candidates would have won.

In all 8 elections from 2013-2017, the most common vote was Neutral, which was cast about twice as often as Support, which in turn was cast about twice as often as Oppose. Winners typically receive 70–85% support.

It has also been used for Steward elections since 2009 or earlier,[2] with the current rules electing all candidates that receive at least 30 votes in favor and at least 80% support.[3]

Wikipedia uses this in a non-binding way for Administrator nominations,[4] etc.


One main reason that use of the Schulze method was discontinued may have been the near-unanimous support that candidates receive, since the elections may not have been sufficiently competitive to justify a more complex, majority rule-based voting method.


  1. See also Wikipedia:Combined approval voting#Properties, in particular the Baujard citation
  2. "Stewards/elections 2009/Statistics". Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  3. "Stewards/Elections 2020/Statistics". Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  4. w:Wikipedia:Requests for adminship#Decision process