Part of my concerns with complexity come from Lane County, and the world at large. The urban areas of Lane County passed STAR by a near-70% margin, that too, with the campaign running on half as much money as Fargo. So that’s a sign that voters who understand it, who get the proposal, will pass it (or perhaps that liberal-looking marketing will appeal to liberal voters, but that’s unavoidable) But STAR failed dramatically in rural areas, and while part of that is the liberal appearance of marketing signs and the campaign (from what I understand), a lot of it is due to constitutional concerns and FUD raised around STAR. I believe Approval will not have those concerns (as long as you embrace “one person, one vote” into your marketing materials ); something that radically simple just can’t be FUD’ed or turned into an issue, as its worst-case scenario is just FPTP, and it is so easy and cheap to implement. Where I also think of complexity is the chance of catastrophic system failures in the world itself. I think we’ll have to wait a few years to see, but I’d rather get people on board with a reform that’s probably going to pass narrowly a lot, than a reform that might pass well with voters who understand it, then fail with voters who don’t. Not to mention, there is some benefit to people who aren’t in the ballot-measure-campaigning area understanding the proposal from news and word of mouth - that too helps spread it in a way that can, on its own, add to number of victories over time. But it is close, so for now, pushing for either should have a huge impact on system failure risk in the world, in politics, economics, climate, etc… (another link on the topic, and one model of how to spread ideas that might be useful somewhere… which I think is another reason to focus on simple: you can more easily get majority consent/indifference towards simple, which lets you actually try it out and get people against FPTP)
Here is one way you could characterize Approval:
The fact we saw from the renormalization group the “veto” effect as a person in a group can steer choices. Rory Sutherland suggested that this explains why some fast-food chains, such as McDonald thrive, not because they offer a great product, but because they are not vetoed in a certain socio-economic group –and by a small proportions of people in that group at that. To put it in technical terms, it was a best worse-case divergence from expectations: a lower variance and lower mean.
Approval has a lower “worst-case” scenario in most people’s minds, and more easily expectable, calculable results than something more fine-grained and uncertain, which you need a background in voting theory to predict. So I expect some voters to push us towards Approval, as a way of tamping down on this fear. When people like Score, those who might dislike it because they don’t understand it can’t as easily express that frustration (they’ll get criticized on points they may not fully grasp), so I feel that their frustration will get expressed at the ballot box, rather than directly. As for a campaign, while it may not enthuse people to push for a less superior reform, not having constant resistance or uncertainty around whether you can convince people to at least slightly like the reform/not turn out and vote against it is a bonus for attracting people, both volunteers, supporters, and neutral observers like the media (from what I can tell in media releases on the Center for Election Science.)
(another paper and a book on this “minority propagation of ideas when majorities are open to it”)
Essentially, spreading a small change that a majority can evaluate and be comfortable with is better than a large change that some of them may actively resist out of fear, which will then lead to clashes between the pro and con sides, all while the majority just sits around, and doesn’t absorb the change as fast. But I am not aware of how much progress STAR is making behind-the-scenes, so…
(and finally, some additional readings on the man behind some of this probability-based/social psychology and physics stuff)