Was Fargo a one-off?


Fargo approved Approval by a 63% margin. Something people don’t mention often is that Fargo had tasked a committee with looking into alternative voting methods after a couple of elections where there were 5+ candidates and people were winning with 20%-30% of the vote. That committee didn’t get AV on the ballot, Reform Fargo did, but their efforts definitely also contributed. Also, I believe Fargo may be one of the only big towns that elects all city legislators at-large, which further stoked concerns of lack of voter representation geographically.

Considering all this, shouldn’t we be much more cautious in interpreting the margin of victory for Approval in Fargo, and what it means for AV’s chances elsewhere?


To what end? We want people to adopt Approval, so… promote the margin of victory as much as possible.


For our own understanding, it’s important we know what the margin signifies. IRV has passed by 70% before (Memphis), but that may not be about the system, but rather, rare local dynamics. We tend to think Approval’s the best thing to push for, and big margins can trick us into thinking that’s right, rather than seeing that some people (perhaps the 13% that pushed it to victory?) were only reacting to their city’s disastrous election outcomes. If that’s the case, I believe it’s important to keep in mind we want to focus on towns with similarly terrible election outcomes in the recent past, not just regular places.