Greens and Libertarians Must Promote Equal-Weighted Voting

Approval Voting is a subcategory of Range Voting (Range Voting is also known as Score Voting). The difference between Approval Voting and other variants of Range Voting is the granularity with which the voter may express degree of support for and/or opposition to a given candidate’s winning. In a large election, voters can make up for overly coarse granularity by voting probabilistically.

Probably the simplest way to describe Approval Voting is to say: Start with voting the way it is done in almost all elections in the US. Remove one constraint: that you can only vote for one. That’s Approval Voting.

For greens who want to support their candidates fully in a single-winner election but also want to use some of their political power to affect the lesser-evil portion of the race, I recommend they give something like 99% support to the lesser-evil candidate. The appropriate level of support for the lesser evil depends on ones assessment of the likely behavior of other voters. The more popular you think your acceptable candidates are, the less support you should give to compromise candidates.

I haven’t seen exactly how to prove the following mathematically yet, but I am fairly convinced that voting systems that don’t accord each voter equal political power to each other voter are vulnerable to two-party dominance via the application of political money. Here are some links related to this expectation:

Range Voting and therefore Approval Voting (since it is a subcategory) accord the voters equal power over the outcome of the election. This can be tested for by observing that for any vote that is possible to cast, one can construct an opposing vote that would exactly cancel the effect of the first vote. This is not true of “Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) (a form of “Ranked Choice Voting”) if voters are allowed to leave some candidates unranked. I think I could describe a variant of IRV that would have the property, but I see no advantage of such a variant over rating systems (Range Voting including Approval Voting).

IRV responds pathologically to small changes in the location of the center of public opinion, as demonstrated by ; see in particular the diagrams under the heading “Shattered”, and the rest of the paper after that heading.

I agree with Gary Swing that “IRV will help the two major parties by eliminating the potential threat posed by minor party candidates, but it won’t help the Green Party to win elections” and “If executive office holders are publicly elected rather than appointed by legislators, I consider range voting to be a much better method than IRV for electing single winner office holders.”

Multiwinner elections constitute a separate and more difficult topic from what I am talking about in most of this writing. I suppose proportional representation is a good idea, but I don’t as of yet know how to speak for any particular system for achieving that as adequate.

For the sake of making it possible for Greens to win single-winner elections, and for the sake of defeating the two-party oligarchy, and for the sake of democracy, I call on all Greens to support Range Voting (or specifically Approval Voting if you prefer) for any single-winner elections, and reject IRV along with vote-for-one Plurality Voting and all other systems that don’t accord the voters equal political power.

The same consideration applies to the Libertarians.



[Also posted as a reply in a thread in a discussion forum that is said to have fallen out of use.]

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