[EM] Answers regarding claim about Approval's enact-ability

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Mon Apr 16 09:42:20 PDT 2012

Mike seems to be in a hurry for an explanation for my earlier statement.

As I recall the issue is that I stated in a previous message that 
Approval voting was very unlikely to be adopted for use in U.S. 
Presidential _general_ elections.  Here are some reasons:

1: Making that change requires adopting a Constitutional Amendment.

2: By the time Congress is ready to consider writing such an amendment, 
various kinds of advanced voting methods will have been tried, which 
means that voters will be familiar with various kinds of better ballots, 
which means they will not be intimidated by marking ranked ballots or 
score ballots.  This situation undermines the biggest advantage of 
Approval voting, which is that it is simple, and the easiest to 
understand (in terms of both ballot marking and ballot counting) for 
someone who is only familiar with plurality voting.

3: The majority of voters do not understand mathematics (and even most 
judges would not be comfortable with mathematics) so they would think 
that being able to mark more than one candidate would violate the "one 
person, one vote" rule.

Richard Fobes

On 4/15/2012 3:54 PM, Michael Ossipoff wrote:
> Thanks for your explanation about the delay in supporting your claim
> about Approval's enactability (in comparison to those of Condorcet,
> Kemmeny, SODA, MJ, etc.). I certainly agree with replying to messages in
> the order n which they were posted.
> Let me just add a few comments, though:
> 1. Though it's too late now, of course, I'll just repeat something that
> I said before. If you don't have time to support that statement (for
> now, at least), then you shouldn't have had time to make the statement
> in the first place.
> A good rule: Don't make statements that you don't have time to support.
> 2. I certainly do not want to hurry you. In fact, I'm not criticizing
> you if you don't even try to support your claim at all. (Who could blame
> you--it isn't supportable).
> 3. But, if you don't, then I just want to clarify to everyone that your
> claim remains an unsupported claim. I would have no objection to that. I
> am not saying that you should support the claim if you don't want to.
> Leave it unsupported if you want to.
> 4. I want to emphasize that, every time that I've said that Approval is
> the enactable method, I've told why that is.
> 5. The subject of which method(s) are the most promising to support,
> advocate, work for, is highly relevant to success. Claims regarding that
> matter should only be valued according the the justifications offered
> for those claims.

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