What’s wrong with the system we have? What about other alternatives?

Plurality voting has many problems but perhaps most important is that the ‘choose one’ system does not elect representative candidates. A candidate should represent, through views and actions, the opinions and preferences of the voters in their area. The current system fails to achieve that by encouraging candidates to aim for the largest voting block and scaring voters into falling into a block.

Some other ways plurality voting fails is that it is 1) inexpressive, meaning that voters can’t put down their true feelings on the ballot. 2) It creates what’s called the spoiler effect, where a candidate (the spoiler), who doesn’t win, splits the support with another candidate. Without the spoiler in the race, the candidate whose support they split would have won. Instead, a candidate with less overall support won because they had a plurality of votes. It is this same phenomenon that produces 3) favorite betrayal, where you feel like you need to vote against your favorite to prevent a worse outcome from occurring. 4) It produces a center squeeze effect where candidates perform better by appealing to the edges of the political spectrum, rather than the center.

There are many alternatives that have been suggested to solve these problems. STAR Voting or Ranked Choice Voting for instance would both be an improvement over what we currently have. However, experts favor Approval Voting over Ranked Choice Voting due to its representative outcomes, and while STAR Voting performs as well as Approval, Approval is also an extremely simple and cost-effective reform. Approval Voting has also gained the support of all 29 county clerks in the state due to its simplicity and its easy audit trail.

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