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

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Mon Apr 16 17:25:16 PDT 2012

2012/4/16 Richard Fobes <ElectionMethods at votefair.org>

> On 4/16/2012 12:50 PM, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
>> hey Richard, how did you get "ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org" for the
>> Reply-to header?". i had to change it to get this to post.
> That's the email account I sent the message from.
>  On 4/16/12 12:42 PM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>>> 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.
>> not precisely. there is a going state compact movement that will
>> essentially make the Electoral College a figurehead. it will exist, but
>> it will be powerless. and it doesn't need a Constitutional amendment,
>> because the Constitution says that the state legislatures have the
>> exclusive authority in defining how the presidential electors are
>> chosen.  ...
> > ...
> Notice that the "state compact movement" specifies that the state's
> electoral votes goes to the candidate with the "most votes."

Yes, the current compact which has been adopted by several states is to use
a nationwide plurality vote. However, a compact to use approval voting
could, in theory, be adopted by those same states, and the wording could be
such that the approval contact supercedes the plurality one as soon as
states representing enough electoral votes sign onto the approval one.


> That will lead to ambiguity if there is a strong three-way race.
> For example, if the group that has gotten approval in many states to add a
> third Presidential candidate in the upcoming Presidential general election
> (I forget their name) were to choose a well-liked liberal candidate, vote
> splitting between the Democratic candidate (Obama) and the added candidate
> could cause the Republican candidate (Romney, presumably) to get the most
> votes, even though a majority of voters vote "against" the Republican
> candidate.
> That would "break" the "most votes" workaround.
> Yes, I agree that it is possible that the reform could happen without a
> Constitutional Amendment.
> However, at this rate of progress, the Constitutional Amendment seems as
> likely as a well-written workaround.
> (Jameson made the same point, so this reply also applies to his comment.)
> Richard Fobes
> ----
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