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Republics are fragile and without vigilance they can easily become monarchies or oligarchies. This was a perennial fear in Venice so in 1268 a method was devised to prevent it. This chart beautifully illustrates the election process for a new doge. Here's how it worked:

Upon the death of a doge members of the Great Council picked 9 of their own by lot. These 9 then chose 40 electors. These 40 drew lots to see which 12 would then elect 25 more. These 25 were reduced by lot to 9 and these 9 elected 45. Then these 45 were reduced to 11 who then chose the 41 who were actually to elect the doge. The would-be doge needed at least 25 of these 41 votes - lacking that the whole process was repeated from scratch.

Does the word Byzantine come to mind? But it was all done in an attempt to insure a level playing field and to prevent any one single, affluent, noble family from stacking the deck in their favor.

Election of Doge