The Center for Election Science

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The Center for Election Science
A green checkmark with "The Center for Election Science" written next to it
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
PurposePromoting electoral reform in the United States

The Center for Election Science (CES) is an American 501(c)(3) electoral reform advocacy organization.[1][2][3][4] It advocates for cardinal voting methods such as approval voting[5] and Score Voting.[6] Its goal is to implement Approval Voting in at least 5 cities with 50,000 people by 2022.[7]

CES argues that Approval Voting is superior to other proposed electoral reforms, such as Ranked Choice Voting;[8] it says Approval Voting will elect more consensus winners,[9] which it contends traditional runoffs and instant-runoff ranked methods don't allow, because they eliminate candidates with broad support but low first-preference support.[10]


CES was founded in 2011[11] by Aaron Hamlin[12] and Clay Shentrup.[13][14] It helped pass Approval Voting in the city of Fargo, North Dakota during the 2018 elections.[15] It received a $1.8 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project in February 2019,[16] and is considered to be a form of effective altruism.[17][18] It is currently seeking to implement Approval Voting + Runoff in St. Louis, Missouri with the help of St. Louis Approves,[19][20] and has donated $75,000 so far to that campaign.[21]


  1. ^ "The Center for Election Science". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  2. ^ Griffiths, Shawn (March 15, 2019). "10 Nonpartisan Organizations to Watch in 2020". Independent Voter News. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  3. ^ Shackford, Scott (2018-10-26). "Fargo Considers Whether to Turn Local Elections into a Voting System of Likes (and Dislikes)". Reason. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  4. ^ Cutler, Eliot R. (March 9, 2019). "Blame Democrats, not me, for Paul LePage victories". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  5. ^ "Approval Voting". The Center for Election Science. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  6. ^ "Score Voting". The Center for Election Science. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  7. ^ "STRATEGIC PLAN 2019-2021" (PDF). Center for Election Science.
  8. ^ "Approval Voting versus IRV". The Center for Election Science. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  9. ^ "Meet the reformer: Aaron Hamlin, the man behind approval voting". The Fulcrum. 2019-09-13. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  10. ^ Wiblin, Robert; Harris, Keiran (May 31, 2018). "Politics is way worse because we use an atrocious 18th century voting system. This guy has a viable plan to fix it". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  11. ^ "Media Kit". The Center for Election Science. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  12. ^ "Aaron Hamlin". Unrig Summit 2020. Retrieved 2019-11-06. Aaron Hamlin is the executive director and co-founder of The Center for Election Science.
  13. ^ "About Us". Counted. Retrieved 2019-11-06. Clay Shentrup has been involved in electoral reform research and advocacy ... went on to co-found the Center for Election Science.
  14. ^ Shentrup, Clay (July 1, 2016). "Approval voting is a good alternative". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2019-11-06. Clay Shentrup, co-founder, Center for Election Science, Berkeley, Calif.
  15. ^ Piper, Kelsey (2018-11-15). "This city just approved a new election system never tried before in America". Vox. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  16. ^ "Center for Election Science Announces $1.8 Million for Approval Voting". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). March 9, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  17. ^ Greaves, Hilary; Pummer, Theron (2019-09-12). Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780192578303.
  18. ^ Illing, Sean (2018-12-14). "How to do good better". Vox. Retrieved 2019-11-05. Another example is voting system reform. I’ll give a shoutout to an organization you covered a few weeks ago, the Center for Election Science.
  19. ^ "It's not just ranked-choice. Approval voting is also in the offing". The Fulcrum. 2019-06-17. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  20. ^ Griffiths, Shawn (November 1, 2019). "NEW POLL: 72% of St. Louis Voters Support Approval Voting Initiative". Independent Voter News. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  21. ^ Barker, Jacob (Jun 4, 2019). "Nonprofit donates $75,000 to group trying to change St. Louis voting method". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-11-05.