|In 2011 this became even more important. The coalition government of Britain granted a referendum on electoral reform, which was held on May 5. But the only reform offered was a system temporarily named “Alternative Voting”, which was like a needlessly complicated form of Approval Voting. It was rejected by the public, probably because its complexity caused confusion and allowed false rumors to be spread about it. If those who were hoping for reform do not give up the struggle, they would be well advised to push for the simpler and better Approval Voting.|
THE ARITHMETIC OF VOTING
The trouble with the “one person one vote” rule is that two candidates on one “side” divide it; some voters must agonize over whether to vote for the one they really prefer or the one who has more chancei—and both have less chance. After analysing three “solutions that don’t work,” we discover one that does: casting any number of single votes for different candidates.
This surprisingly simple “costless reform” turns out to have no real flaw and several other great advantages. This article (first written 1968, first published 1977) was the first statement of the idea and remains the most lucid and cogent short description. Later the idea was independently proposed by several other writers, and under the name of “approval voting” is the subject of a book and a draft bill. It is applicable to all kinds of elections, and might hold out hope for resolving the mess of the American and British electoral systems.
The 2000 U.S. presidential election (Gore-Nader-Bush) was an acute example of the “voters’ dilemma” that this system would heal. A majority preferred Gore over Bush; but because a minority of them preferred Nader even more, Bush won.
As a public service, we offer this pamphlet at less than the cost of printing! Copies were sent (by Prof. John Flanigan of Hawaii and friends) to all members of the U.S. Congress.
6½ x 9½ in., 8 pages; diagrams. 1987; reprinted 1999, 2001, 2004. ISBN 978-0-934546-42-3.
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