Approval voting

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On an approval ballot, the voter can vote for any number of candidates.

Approval voting is a voting system used for elections. In approval voting, each person can vote for any number of candidates he likes. The votes for each of the candidates are counted, and summed up. The candidate or candidates with most votes are chosen as the winners of the election.

Supporters argue it to be better than plurality voting because voters can vote for the lessor of evils advertised by the media but also for their favorite candidates. If their goal is just to vote against a candidate, they can do so more forcefully by approving all other candidates. Ballots can easily be hand counted if voters do not trust computers, which might be needed for Instant Runoff Voting. Vote spoiling is not an issue with approval voting, so many candidates may run for office.

Opponents argue that voters still have some of the problems of plurality voting, which is that they do not know if they will need to compromise vote or not. Giving approval to a compromise candidate could result in that compromise candidate winning, when their favorite would have won had they not given approval to the compromise candidate. It is possible for 51% of voters to view a candidate as their first choice but for that candidate to lose to a compromise candidate because many of those voters approved the compromise candidate as well. Not knowing whether or not to compromise is a problem with all voting systems when at least three strong candidates run.