LETTERS: Give the thumbs up to Approval Voting


EDITOR: As we are in the middle of an election season, allow me to introduce you to Approval Voting – a better way to vote.

Everyone is familiar with plurality, our current voting method. It’s how we elect our governor and our state representatives. Plurality has the great advantage of being simple, but the great disadvantage of not letting voters say very much. You get to choose one or, rather, you are forced to choose one candidate. To add insult to injury, sometimes a spoiler candidate ruins the election for a lot of voters. Can we do better when we have more than 2 candidates running?

Enter Approval Voting. You get to mark your ballot for EVERY candidate you approve. Maybe you support two candidates – Mark 2! No lesser of evils! Maybe you like all but one of the candidates – Tell the world! And you CAN, because unlike a ranking method, all your votes are visible all the time. You don’t have to wait for one candidate to be eliminated to show your support for a second candidate.

Some voting methods require special tabulation software. Not Approval Voting! Just like plurality, the winner is the person marked on the most ballots, unlike plurality, a candidate elected using Approval Voting always has the broadest popular support.

Approval Voting is probably the most common form of group decision making. We often use it without realizing when deciding where to join friends for dinner or what movie to see. Anytime you ask people to vote yes or no on a slew of options, you are using Approval Voting. Consider using Approval Voting to pick the name of a new library cafe or to choose what your book club will read this year. We think you’ll like Approval Voting.

Blake Huber, via [email protected]

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