University of Rochester uses Approval Voting in its student elections


“Part of what I want to do is increase voter turnout,” he said. Because UR’s Student Association uses approval voting, people can choose more than one ticket.

Let’s see if the fox is the true moderate.


Hurray for approval voting! The fox might win, but if he does it’ll be because he really has the most support, not because the other candidates split the non-fox vote. And if he loses, he won’t be a spoiler and throw the election to the least foxy candidate.


The election results are in.

2019-2020 President & Vice President

Jamal Holtz & Anne Marie Cortes - 900

Vlad Cazacu & Kamel Awayda - 718
Genessis Galindo & Lionel Kirenga - 677

Looks like Quad Fox did not generate a significant write in vote. Or write ins were not reported.
Someone must get to the bottom of this.


It looks like most of the voters bullet voted. There were a total of 2250 voters and 2295 votes among the 3 tickets, for a total of 1.02 candidates selected per ballot.
Given that FairVote’s main attack on Approval is “it fails LNH, so it is effectively Plurality”, this does not appear to be a positive result for Approval. Obviously there are differences between student elections and government elections. For example, there is probably not much media coverage or information about the candidates (then again, for some obscure elected government positions, there isn’t much either). They also generally have very low turnout, so a large proportion of the voters may be motivated by personal connections to one candidate. But this is going to be the election they point to any time someone brings up Approval Voting.


Judging by the results, it is somewhat possible there was no consensus candidate to receive secondary approvals.

Also important to look at what ballot instructions the voters may have received. I’ve seen suspicion on that regarding Dartmouth and confirmed instances elsewhere of voters getting Plurality-style instructions for Approval Voting.

As a small consolation, the figures for Senators At Large show 3190 votes, for a 141% vote-per-ballot rate. Some other races show less votes than voters, signifying that the students weren’t that interested. Generally speaking, it’s just important to point out that all our evidence shows that the more voters care about an election, the more votes they cast. It’s the only thing that makes consistent bullet-voting in student elections and lots of votes for public election polls make sense.

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Yeah, I agree that ballot instructions might have something to do with it. That 1.02 rate is so much lower even than the Dartmouth rate (I think it was something like 1.33) that it seems possible or even likely that most voters weren’t aware that they could vote for multiple candidates.


At that point, it’s possible some voters accidentally overvoted FPTP-style. And of course, some voters might have skipped while others approved multiple. All good reasons to obtain Score data for FairVote.