I’m trying to get Approval Voting passed in Piedmont, which uses vote for two or three based on how many City Council or Board of Education spots are up for grabs. I thought it’d be interesting to have a hypothetical discussion on how to convince voters that they really need the ability to vote for four or more candidates in an election. So far my best shot is that if a voter knows their favorite has no chance of winning, they can still vote for them in Approval Voting and also pick the more viable candidates. Nobody has seriously posed this question in discussion yet, but I thought it’d be nice to have more responses, since typically most voters don’t do research on even one of the candidates in their local elections. The other thing to note is that gladly, most bigger cities use vote for one or two at the max, so that’s a bit easier to convince voters to fix.
Well, one reason for incumbents to support Approval over plurality-at-large is that a voter who supports a candidate who is sure to be elected may be making a mistake by doing that if they have reason to support more candidates whose election is uncertain than there are open seats.
For example, consider a 2 seat PAL election where your honest score vote would be Incumbent:5 A:4 B:3 C:0. If you roughly estimate (let’s say give or take 5 ppt) that each candidate’s vote share will be
Then you should vote A,B. The incumbent doesn’t need your vote, and A,B maximizes what you expect the quality of the second winner to be. Of course, if too many people use this strategy, the incumbent isn’t safe anymore.
A counterbalancing reason for incumbents to oppose Approval might be that it allows the anti-incumbent vote to unite. I’m not sure which of the two reasons is stronger for most politicians, but I’ll try yours out and see if that argument comes up. Also, it’s funny that vote management shows up everywhere.
I’m in Oakland if you want to meet up to talk strategy on this.
The way you’ve phrased things gives me concern that you’re more interested to push AV than to solve any specific problem that Piedmont is having. Are there any examples of a failed election so far? What kind of motivation or backing can you put behind a campaign?
From looking at previous elections in Piedmont, they don’t seem to have had any serious vote-splitting. The caveat is that they only have had 5 or less candidates run, which means of course that vote-splitting can’t really happen unless you’re voting for a write-in candidate. That said, I’m interested in AV because I believe it would allow more candidates to run without splitting the vote, enabling the voters to better express their feelings on the issues (marketplace of ideas), and allow more compromise (compromise candidates can run and shore up votes, and even if you only have 3-4 candidates running, supposing there are some voters who hate one of the candidates and vote for all the rest, there is still room for the candidates to be more compromising and reach out to more voters.) I’m willing to put in the next 3 months to gather the ~1700 signatures necessary, and would be happy to discuss whatever’s necessary to move forward after that. I’m just waiting to receive the ballot title and summary from the city attorney, then publish in a newspaper, then I can start gathering signatures. But at the end of the day, Piedmont is a happy town, and I’m not sure I’m so much fixing a problem as I am expanding their capabilities; I heard one person say that the Board of Education races are somewhat tightly contested, which leads me to believe that AV’s support for compromise candidates and expressing your opinion on the issues could be very healthy for the town there. For an idea on how serious this campaign is, you might want to look at facebook.com/PiedmontApproves