Approval Voting And All You Need To Know About It

The definition of approval voting

Approval voting is a single-winner electrical system that allows voters to select any number of candidates. The winner is the most-approved candidate. Approval voting is usually discussed in the context of single-winner elections. However, variations using an approval-style ballot can also be applied to multi-winner elections.

Approving voting ballots show a list of the candidates running for that particular seat or the office being contested. Next to the names of each candidate is a checkbox. Each candidate is treated as a separate question: “Do you approve this candidate for the position?”All the votes count equally, and everyone gets that same number of votes: one vote per candidate. The final tallies show how many voters support each candidate, and the winner is the candidate with most votes. Approval voting can be applied in political organizations and jurisdictions. It can also be used in social scenarios as a fairer system

Approval Voting Overview

  • It is more expensive
  • Removes vote splitting
  • Leads to fewer oiled ballots
  • Results are simple to understand
  • It elects candidates who would otherwise beat all rivals
  • Ballots look the same, except for rules indicating that one may vote for any number of candidates

How do approval voting results differ from plurality voting results?

Political scientists in Germany and France conducted an approval voting survey based on their real elections.  These surveys support the positive impact of approval voting. For example, voters using approval voting system considerably chose to vote for more than one candidate. Moreover, the candidates who showed inadequate support under plurality voting system were adequately represented under approval voting.  Their supporters were able to vote for them even if they had already voted for other prominent candidates.

Does approval voting favor major parties or minor parties?

Approval voting doesn’t favor major or minor parties. It is fair to both. In the current system, popular major party candidates may sometimes lose if a strong minor party or an independent candidate draws some support that could have been theirs.  What approval voting does is allow supporters of alternative candidates also to support a more qualified leader as a compromise.

How does approval voting helps spoiled ballots?

Approval voting tends to result in less spoiled ballots. The only way that the approval ballot can get spoiled is when the ballot is made unreadable, which is very difficult. In fact, in the survey mentioned above, fewer than 1 in 200 ballots got spoiled. Plurality voting ballots are usually treated as spoiled when voters mark more than one candidate.

Does approval voting violate “one person one vote?”

The phrase “one person one vote” means the weight of votes, not how votes are expressed. So approval voting doesn’t violate it. A common misconception is that approval voting gives more weight to voters who vote for more candidates. But this is not the case.

Does approval voting increase voter satisfaction?

Studies from computer simulation show that approval voting is more powerful than IRV as measured by “Bayesian regret”, a measure of average voter satisfaction