From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Elections and Referendums  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Elections and Referendums, an ongoing effort to improve the quality of, expand upon and create new articles relating to elections, electoral reform and other aspects of democratic decision-making. For more information, visit our project page.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the quality scale.
WikiProject Politics (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Greece (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Greece, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Greece on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


It is said that even the etymology of "ballot" reflects the role of sortition in ancient times, but someone needs to check the OED to make sure this is an accurate reflection.

Selection by lot: drawing straws, rolling dice, etc.

Slightly amplify the reference to "qualification" so that "random" sounds less silly.

Aristotle and classical analysis of sortition[edit]

The entry currently says that "Arguably, selection by lot is a more democratic process than election by vote, since sortition is less influenced by money and fame. Aristotle and other classical writers who discussed the subject took this view."

While there are statemnts by Aristotle (Politics, book 4, chap. 9) saying that sortition is democratic, I am unaware of any specific argument offered by him for why this is so. The same, as far as I know, is true for Montesquieu and Rousseau. All these authors seem to take it for granted that sortition is democratic, but fail to provide any arguments. I think the entry should be changed to correctly describe this situation. --Drono 04:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Text from Allotment[edit]

The following text was on Allotment, which was looking nothing like the dab page it claimed to me. It seems a bit too good just to delete, so I'm putting in here for someone to merge into this article if thought appropriate. Cheers --Pak21 11:30, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Main article: sortition

Allotment (also known as sortition) is a method of selection by some form of lottery such as drawing coloured pebbles from a bag. It was commonly used in Ancient Greek Democracy. It is thought that allotment originally developed from the use of oracles to divine the will of the gods, but by the time of Ancient Greeks like Herodotus it was a key part of the the Athenian political system.

Athenian Democracy developed out of a notion of isonomia (equality of political rights), and Allotment was the principle way of achieving this fairness[1]. Greek "Democracy" (literally meaning rule by the people) was literally run by the people: the administration was in the hands of committees allotted from the people. Although it may seem strange to those used to Liberal Democracy the Athenian Greeks considered Elections to be undemocratic[2]. This was because citizens chosen on merit or popularity contradicted the democratic principle of equality of all citizenry. In addition allotment prevented the corrupt practise of buying votes as no one could know who would be selected as a magistrate or to sit on the Jury.

Athenian Democracy used allotment to select around 90%[2] of the magistrates for their governing committees. Only in exceptional cases such as generals of the army (strategoi) did Athenians vote for candidates (even Greeks saw the benefit of selecting their generals on merit rather than principle[2]). Their huge juries (typically 501) were allotted using sophisticated machines to ensure jurors were fairly allocated. These juries not only tried cases, handed down sentences (see the trial of Socrates), but could also overturn laws passed by the citizen's assembly.

Allotment is today restricted mainly to the selection of jurors in Anglo-Saxon legal systems like the UK and US.

For the use of lots in divination see Cleromancy.


Selection bias and the potential incorrect math, sortition is not certain to be fair and any statement alledging it's fairnss should refer to respected source on statistics/probability applications. i kan reed 00:54, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


Much of the pros and cons for Sortition are found in a similar form in the Demarchy article. I'm thinking that Demarchy should be merged into this article as a result. --One Salient Oversight 11:57, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

See main discussion on the Demarchy talk page. (talk) 03:59, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Done, finally :) See old talk-page and revived 2014 discussion of merger at talk:Demarchy#Merger_proposal_.28again.29_.5Bdecember_2012.5D ★NealMcB★ (talk) 18:55, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Aristotle on Wikisource[edit]

I see that this article references Aristotle's "Politics"... It seems the text of this is online in wikisource... I am not sure how to read these references to be honest... to find the corresponding quotes in the book... Could someone clarify that for me? Also, why not provide a link to the wikisource text? LordBrain (talk) 03:38, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I came across the same issue and managed to find the cited text, except it's not cited correctly, according to the translation in Wikisource. The number within square brackets in the citation refers to the same section in the book:

"[...] as, for instance, as it seems correspondent to the nature of a democracy, that the magistrates should be chosen by lot, but an aristocracy by vote [...]"

In other words, it seems to me that Aristotle was merely reporting the differing opinions of his times about such topics, but not endorsing any one of these opinions. Moreover, Wikisource's translation talks about Magistrates, not generic public offices as it's reported here. Which one is right? --Bafio (talk) 15:28, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "MorgenIsonomia" :
    • The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes", [[Mogens Herman Hansen]], ISBN 1-85399-585-1
    • The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes", Mogens Herman Hansen, ISBN 1-85399-585-1

DumZiBoT (talk) 02:31, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


The reading of this article has been one of the best experiences of roaming the Wikipedia so far. I simply want to credit all the contributors for this. This was unexpected and gave way to new realizations, and renewed political enthusiasm in me. Thanks --Xact (talk) 22:37, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

a fictional view[edit]

My favorite passage from Ken MacLeod's novel Dark Light:

Drawing lots is fair, even if it sometimes throws up a freak result. With elections you’re actually building the minority problem right in at every level, and lots more with it – parties, money, fame, graft, just for starters. What chance would that leave ordinary people, what chance would we have of being heard or of making a difference? Elections are completely undemocratic, they’re downright antidemocratic. Everybody knows that!

Tamfang (talk) 23:07, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Enthusiasm of the representatives[edit]

You can ensure representatives are enthusiastic about representing the population by a lottery system: each person who is enthusiastic can get one ticket. Then draw among the ticket holders instead of the whole population. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:09, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


See Why a citizen’s parliament chosen by lot would be ‘perfect’ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lsky (talkcontribs) 22:34, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

Intended alterations to article[edit]

I am part of a Yale undergraduate course studying representative government and its evolution. As part of my studies, I plan to research lotocracies and strengthen this page. I am incredibly interested in the use of lot within republics and I believe that by improving this article I can help to spark conversation about sovereignty and representation. Below I have outlined some intended changes, and I would very much appreciate any and all feedback. I look forward to working with the Wiki community on this article, and I thank all of you for your hard work in providing the world with knowledge.

Introduction - I plan to expand this portion of the article with additional summarization of later points and introduce new information about general pro/con themes.

1 History - Additional information, after research, will be added about historical examples of sortition. This especially includes a deeper dive into the systems of Greece, Venice and Florence.

Example: "In Athens, to be eligible to be chosen by lot, citizens self-selected themselves into the available pool, then lotteries in the chlorite machines. The magistracies assigned by lot generally had terms of service of 1 year. A citizen could not hold magistracy more than once in his lifetime, but could hold other magistracies. All citizens over 30 years of age, who were not guilty of atimia, were eligible. Those selected through lot underwent examination called dokimasia in order to avoid incompetent officials. Rarely were selected citizens discarded [3]. Magistrates, once in place, were subjected to constant monitoring by the Assembly. Magistrates appointed by lot had to render account of their time in office upon their leave, called euthynai. However, any citizen could request the suspension of a magistrate with due reason[4].

In Florence, systems of lot were used to select magistrates and members of the Signoria during republican periods. Florence utilized a combination of lot and scrutiny by the people, set forth by the ordinances of 1328 [5]. In 1494, Florence founded a Great Council in the model of Venice. The nominatori were thereafter chosen by lot from among the members of the Great Council, indicating a decline in aristocratic power [6].

Lot was used in the Venetian system only to select members of the committees that nominated candidates to be considered by the Great Council for political posts. A combination of election and lot was used in this multi-stage process. Lot was not used alone to select magistrates, unlike in Florence and Athens. The use of lot to select nominators made it more difficult for political sects to exert power, and discouraged campaigning [7]. By reducing intrigue and power moves within the Great Council, lot maintained cohesiveness among the Venetian nobility, contributing to the stability of this republic. Top magistracies generally still remained in the control of elite families[8]."

2 Advantages - I plan to add 1-2 more advantages. Additionally, I plan to connect some of the advantages back to historical examples of their success.

·Effective representation of the interests of the people ·Fairness & Equality ·Democratic ·Less corruptible than elections ·Fair representation ·Power to ordinary people ·Voter fatigue ·Loyalty is to conscience not to political party

3 Disadvantages - I plan to add another disadvantage,

The difference between arithmetical and geometrical equality as outlined by Isocrates [9]. Choosing the correct mean is essential to correctly estimating the central tendency of a population or calculating investment returns. Although the concept of an average may seem simple, it is imperative for a user to carefully consider which mean to use–and to communicate to reader or intended audience the method of deriving the average and the rationale for doing so.

·Pure sortition does not discriminate ·Misrepresentation ·Sortition can put in power people with minority views ·Voting confers legitimacy ·Some forms of sortition entail compulsion ·Enthusiasm of the representatives ·Accountability

Methods - These processes are generally measured in terms of political efficacy. Researchers at the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center originally introduced the concept of political efficacy in their mid-twentieth century studies of national elections in the United States[10]. Campbell, Gurin, and Miller defined efficacy as the "feeling that individual political action does have, or can have, an impact upon the political process, i.e., that it is worth- while to perform one's civic duties".[11] Later researchers convincingly argued, though, that efficacy is not simply a unidimensional construct.[12] Instead, efficacy consists of at least two related, but distinguishable, concepts: (1) external efficacy, which refers to citizens' perceptions of the responsiveness of the political system to their demands, and (2) internal efficacy, which refers to the citizens' feelings of personal competence "to understand and to participate effectively in politics."[13]

Examples - This portion seems redundant after “History.” I will add further examples to it, such as the Great Council of Venice [14], to make it more substantive.

Hollymjg95 (talk) 18:08, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 2 external links on Sortition. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 07:29, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Merge Stochocracy[edit]

Is there any objection to merging Stochocracy in here? There has been a proposal on the Talk:Stochocracy page since 2012 to merge it in here. According to terminology - Is there any difference between demarchy and stochocracy? - Politics Stack Exchange, "Stochocracy is just an attempt to translate the french word stochocracie, which is a word used to refer to any democracy that uses sortition to select its decision makers." ★NealMcB★ (talk) 19:46, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

==== I should vote against the merging, because stochocracy isn´t limited to sortition. This became clearer in countries distinguished by nearly chaotic governances, where the issue has been discussed more than under comparatively stable, or successful, governments. An example is article "Estococracia". Sortition (just an attempt to translate the french word "sortition") isn´t needed for stochocracy; this later is the general term. The stochastic character of governants can be attained by arbitrarily putting any determining number, e.g. a section of the identity card number. Establishing it as 0000 yields an statistical sample of the population in the same way (i.e., as mathematically fair as) sorting such a determining number. See the Argentinian long labored (yet unapplied!) example in

==== This is why stochocracy is the gender and the forms of sortition, as well as the forms of arbitrary establishment of the "determinant" number, are its species. The wider concept is therefore Stochocracy.

==== Best regards,

I would also object to merging "everything" to Sortition.

I believe that the Sortition Article is far to complex and some readers in search of a few simple terms "demarchie, lottocracy etc." will find a lot of text but simply not what they were looking for. This sortition article btw reminds me of the attempt of Hegel to write an intruduction to a planned history of philosophy. his introduction finally turned out to have 900 pages and is today titled "Phaenomenologie des Geistes"; the History of Philosophy was never written. - I would go as far and rather erase the sortition article instead of merging anything into it! Lachteufel (talk) 00:15, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Herodotus 3.80
  2. ^ a b c The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes", Mogens Herman Hansen, ISBN 1-85399-585-1
  3. ^ Manin, Bernard (1997). The Principles of Representative Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45891-9. 
  4. ^ Hansen, M. H. (1981). Election by Lot at Athens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  5. ^ Manin, Bernard (1997). The Principles of Representative Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45891-9. 
  6. ^ Brucker, Gene (1962). Florentine Politics and Society 1342-1378. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 
  7. ^ Manin, Bernard (1997). The Principles of Representative Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45891-9. 
  8. ^ Rousseau (1762). On the Social Contract. New York: St Martin's Press. p. 112. 
  9. ^ Isocrates (Monachii). Areopagiticus. 1840.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Morrell, Michael (March 2005). "Democratic Decision-Making and Internal Political Efficacy". Political Behavior 27 (1). 
  11. ^ Cambell, Gurin and Miller (1954). The Voter Decides. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson. 
  12. ^ Balch, George (1954). "Multiple indicatorsin surveyresearch:the concept of 'sense of political efficacy'". Political Methodology (1): 1-43. 
  13. ^ Craig, Niem and Silver (1990). "Political efficacy and trust: a report on the NES pilot study items.". Political Behavior (12): 289–314. 
  14. ^ Maranini. La Costituzione di Venezia (II ed.). p. 118.