The Approval Voting Home Page

Rob Lanphier robla at
Sat Feb 1 22:17:05 PST 1997

This message is being sent to the election-methods-list (for more info,

...and cc'd to Neal McBurnett, who maintains the "Approval Voting Home
Page" at:

I think Neal's page is a great model for setting up a web page in support
of a voting system (it influenced the way I set up the Condorcet web page
at, but I'm
disappointed by the hand-waving deflection that all ranked ballot methods
are given ("Unlike more complicated ranking systems, which suffer from a
variety of theoretical as well as practical defects, approval voting is
simple for voters to understand and use").

I like a lot of the work that Fishburn and Brams have done, and so I was
also disappointed to see the handwaving also occurred in a paper that they
wrote which is on the web site: 

   Although preferential systems, notably STV, have been used in public
   elections to ensure proportional representation of different parties in
   legislatures, the vulnerability of STV to preference truncation
   illustrates its manipulability, and its nonmonotonicity casts doubt
   upon its democratic character. In particular, it seems bizarre that
   voters can hurt a candidate's chances by raising him or her in their

It seems they treat all ranked voting systems like STV, and then assign
all of the problems of STV to all ranked systems.

Sorry for putting you on the spot, Neal, but I did want to stir up a
little debate about your page, since I'm hoping that's what it's there
for.  We've discussed these systems quite a bit on the
eleciton-methods-list, and many of the members here would very strongly
object to the assertion that methods that have been proposed on this list
suffer from manipulability like that of Approval.

We have an archive of all of the past correspondence to the em list at:

This will give you a flavor of the discussion thus far.
Rob Lanphier
robla at

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