Approval Voting in US elections

I came across an article that talks about how presidential elections should be held by using approval voting. Currently, our voting process consists of citizens individually voting for who they want to win, then the Electoral College in each state votes based on the votes that state received for each candidate; in order to win, the candidate must receive the majority of electoral votes. This system of voting has been used for a significant amount of time, but whenever a large portion of voters disagree with the outcome, the topic of changing the voting system to make it “more fair” is discussed. My understanding of this voting method is that each election has different outcomes, it does not favor one party over the other, however, it does make it extremely difficult for a third party candidate to win a states electoral votes.


Changing the voting method to approval voting does not seem like it would be the best option to me, although this article thinks otherwise. The article talks about how the plurality method is a “really bad” method to use and how approval voting gives candidates a more equal opportunity to win. As we learned in class, the plurality method does not satisfy two criterions—the Condorcet criterion and the IIA criterion. However, I do not believe changing to the approval voting method would be the most effective change. The approval voting method does not satisfy the majority criterion or the Condorcet criterion. This means that both methods only satisfy two out of four criterions in Arrow’s Fairness Criteria.


If people are arguing to use the most “fair” option of voting, it seems as though Copeland’s Method should be their method of choice. This method meets the majority, Condorcet, and monotonicity criterions. It would be considered the most fair because it meets three out of the four requirements on Arrow’s Fairness Criteria.


It is interesting to me that people decide that the method for voting should change when they do not like the outcome, yet when their candidate wins, they are happy with the method. There is no perfect method for voting; therefore, there will rarely be an outcome where everyone is happy. It is interesting to compare different methods and their outcomes in elections because ultimately, depending on the method it is possible to get a different winner each time a different method is used. For now, I personally believe that we should keep our voting methods the same and educate ourselves more on how we vote and who we are voting for in order to try and better our political system with each election.

The link to the article is below incase you would like to read it.

One Reply to “Approval Voting in US elections”

  1. To play devil’s advocate here: while Copeland’s Method fulfills 3 of Arrow’s Fairness Criteria, it fails to meet the IIA Criterion. To a voter, especially most voters of today, this may be immensely important. As Copeland’s Method violates the IIA Criterion, it possible that the winner in the race may lose the race if a losing candidate. Thinking about the last election, there was a major concern that a 3rd party candidate could cause major impact in the election, and so people may have changed their votes so this could not happen. Approval voting would not cause such a concern. With approval voting, people could vote freely without being concerned that their vote toward a candidate could impact the vote toward an other candidate.

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