Ancient Greeks had a unique way of voting called ostracism, where citizens would write the name of someone they wanted to be exiled from Athens on a piece of broken pottery called an ostrakon. If a person received enough votes (at least 6,000), they would be exiled from the city for ten years. This practice was used to prevent the rise of tyrants and maintain democracy.

Notable figures who were ostracized include the Athenian general and statesman Themistocles and the philosopher and teacher of Alexander the Great, Aristotle's famous teacher, Plato.