CES Updates

Meet the Approval Voting Movement

Most American political movements are defined by a certain set of policy goals or social impacts. As the ranks of our movement continue to grow, we tried to ask, “who are the supporters of approval voting?”

Through the personal stories of our supporters, I want you to meet our movement. As our polling shows, Americans of all political stripes are in favor of approval voting, something rare in today’s political landscape. That’s because our movement for approval voting goes well beyond a particular political party to something far more fundamental.  

I’m proud to share the main themes that define our supporters and their direct quotes.

Our supporters want an electoral system where our choices reflect the diversity of political views.

“Approval voting is a simple way to have more candidates who represent our interests. A nice side-effect is that they also get along with each other better.”

Jim McKelvey, St. Louis, MO

“It is clear that the systematically driven, tribal partisanship of our government is causing serious harm to the lives of normal Americans. It is far more important than any one issue that we create electoral conditions that allow for a true competition of ideas and reduce the potency of the false dichotomy currently in power.

Alexander Marshall,  Jeffersonville, VT

Our supporters want an end to the two-party monopoly on our political lives.

A small donkey figurine and a small elephant figurine face each other on top of an American flag.

“I don’t like to feel like I have to hold my nose to vote for the lesser of two evils. I want to vote for GOOD people! We need to give power back to the people! Approval Voting lets us vote for ALL the candidates that stand for our values, not the corporations and not the unions. We need leaders who look like the residents, not just elephants or donkeys.”

Warren Porter, Jackson, MS 

“It’s so disheartening to only have what you feel are two bad choices and you have to choose what you feel is the lesser of two evils. We need leaders who value our constitution and serve the American People who they work for. Approval voting will do that.” 

Raylene Scribner, Lewisville, TX

Our supporters want a check against the extreme voices who are emboldened by choose-one voting. 

“With lots of competing candidates, a single extremist on the ballot can attract a dedicated following and become the top vote-getter with a small portion of the vote. We’ve seen this happen a lot recently. With approval voting, candidates who represent the electorate can deny an extreme candidate the plurality. Ranked choice voting sounds nice in theory, but in practice, it is too complex, and results in too many spoiled ballots.”

David S., North Carolina 

Our supporters want a simple, transparent solution that voters can understand and election administrators can navigate. 

A real lightbulb is seen in front of a black chalkboard background with a cartoon thinking cloud drawn around it in chalk.

“In my role as Township Clerk, I often speak with voters who realize there should be a better voting method than plurality. When voting, they are often conflicted between voting for their most preferred candidate and voting for the “safe” candidate to avoid a worse outcome.

Ranked Choice Voting is not the solution, as it has several severe problems. The worst is the slow and opaque counting process. In a statewide contest, all the counts of each preference ranking, which can be many depending on the number of candidates, must be transmitted from the precinct, to the county, to the state, and only then can a complex algorithm decide the winner. This is the opposite of a transparent solution.

Approval Voting, however, could be implemented on our present election equipment and ballot designs with a slight software change (overvotes are allowed!), and anyone observing could easily verify that the totals at each level add up, just as they can now, and unlike ranked choice.

Besides that, Approval Voting is simple and easy to explain to voters — “Vote for all the candidates you approve of, the one with the most votes wins.” That’s it. Simplicity is so important to keep the trust of voters.”

Mark M., Kalamazoo, MI

“I love Approval’s mathematical elegance and efficiency. It’s the simplest possible set of voting rules that can deliver robust results in real-world conditions.

I became a vocal advocate of Approval after the 2000 US Presidential election showcased the flaws of Plurality.”

Francis Uy, Colombia, MD 

Our supporters want to protect American Democracy.

“People are losing faith in our Democracy. One of the most blatant and glaring things in need of doing is voting reform. Free and fair elections require people to have the ability to make meaningful choices in those elections, not just chose the “lesser of two evils” with a metaphorical gun to their head. Approval voting is one potent option for returning greater electoral power to the hands of the people the government is (supposedly) here to serve. Approval voting would go a long way to reducing the death-grip the two-party system has on the country’s throat, giving voters the ability to truly make meaningful choices at the polls.”

Tahni Nikitins, Bothell, Washington

Have you ever felt like this? Join our movement to put power back into our vote, give voters more choice, and protect our democracy. 

Do you want to share why you support approval voting? Fill out this form.