The candidates are the heir of the current doge and the leaders of the other four patrician families. Each candidate has a Respect value, equal to:
age² + 2x(prestige) + 5x(campaign fund)
Generally, the candidate with the most Respect wins, but there is a hidden amount of 500 respect, which is randomly added to one of the candidates, so there is a chance that the second-place candidate wins instead if the Respect values are fairly close. Children cannot be elected.
The patrician families always use Agnatic Seniority. The ruler may choose to designate an heir using an honorary title, which overrides the usual rules of seniority. Both of these rules take precedence over other restrictions on succession - so Muslim and Pagan republics work in the same way as Christian ones.
- Assassinate other Patricians: by assassinating other patricians with a character with high intrigue, you can get rid of candidates with high respect. Just remember the dangers of getting caught. With patricians, you might even end up creating family feuds which lasts for generations.
- Give titles to heir: honorary titles give some prestige/month which can greatly increase the respect. Don't give your heir landed titles, otherwise he wouldn't be able to inherit.
- Only invest if you can win: Money in the campaign fund is lost even if you don't win the election. You can withdraw your funds if you don't have enough to be in the lead.
- Plan for the alternatives: Related to the tip above, always create a backup plan for your family in case the family doesn't hold on to the Doge title. Try to get higher tier titles for your republic, so that you can carve out an alternate sub-realm for the family after losing the election.