Yesterday (23 April 2019), Prince Edward Island held a referendum whether the current first past the post system (FPP) should be replaced by some form of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP). The result was 51.17% for FPP against 48.83% for MMP.
It seems Approval is most resistant to failure in referendums. The only real arguments against it are 1) increased chance of ballot fraud (vote counters can sneeze and add an approval to ballot) and 2) voters might get confused switching between choose-one and Approval on the same ballot. The fact that it costs almost nothing and always lets you vote your favorite… Although I am concerned that some might vote No on it in hopes of getting a referendum on a more preferred reform, like MMP.
Good. MMP is a mix of something bad (SMP) with something terrible (party list). It does not solve vote splitting and adds formal partisanship to the election process. The only gain is in PR and this gain is lost by the increase in strategic voting alone. It is a net loss over SMP. MMP needs to go the way of the typewriter
I hate how Illusory Reform Voting is getting enacted all over the place and is supported by at least 5 of the 2020 democrats, and systems like Approval, Score, STAR, and Asset are just getting started. That defeat of STAR in Oregon last year seems a lot more damaging now than at the time.
It will be a big issue in the Canadian federal election this fall. The Green Party, Peoples Party and New Democrat party all want reform and only the third is decided. The CES should reach out. The issue is that in Canada the lobby groups have made electoral reform synonymous with getting a system with full proportional representation. This has shut down the Conservatives because they think all reform would undermine individualism and local representation. If somebody could get their ear long enough to explain Approval I am sure they would be interested. Especially since they are going to get hit hard by vote splitting in the upcoming election.
Just require “disapprove” votes to be explicit. This also makes it clear that Approval doesn’t violate “one person one vote”. Everyone makes the same number of marks on their ballot, either for or against every candidate.
That ruins the “naive appeal to FPTP” that Approval has. There’s something a little nice about showing voters that we almost got voting right, but just need to open it up, rather than more explicit changes. But it’s still somewhat simpler, and if you’re using blanks as scores, you get Net Approval Voting (-1, 0, 1) comparable to (0, 1, 2).
Also, see Bucklin for an example of how courts might treat “one person, one vote”:
“In the case at bar, it may be noted that the number of persons who voted were 12,313, and the number of cross marks considered on the plurality election were 18,860. It was not a voting of man against man.”
So you may be justified in calling for more explicit versions of Approval, though it may be only slightly less vulnerable if there are many blanks.