Is approval voting an ‘unmitigated evil’?: A response to Brams, Fishburn, and Merrill

  title={Is approval voting an ‘unmitigated evil’?: A response to Brams, Fishburn, and Merrill},
  author={Donald G. Saari and Jill Van Newenhizen},
  journal={Public Choice},
Brams, Fishburn, and Merrill (1988) contend that the indeterminacy of approval voting (AV), introduced in our paper (1988), is not a vice, but a surpassing virtue of AV. They do not compare the negative versus the positive features of AV, so their assertion remains a conjecture. Our response emphasizes the need to determine the costs of AV and to evaluate them against any merits. Moreover, by correcting and answering BFM's comments, the argument against AV becomes much stronger. This is because… 

Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting

Ballot data from some of the societies that adopted AV are used to compare theoretical results with experience, including the nature of voting under AV and the kinds of candidates that are elected.

Voter Sovereignty and Election Outcomes

Voters are sovereign to the degree that they can express their approval for any set of candidates. While voter sovereignty is maximized under approval voting (AV), AV can lead to a plethora of

A Strategic Problem in Approval Voting

Problems of multi-candidate races in U.S. presidential elections—exemplified by Ralph Nader’s spoiler effect in 2000—motivated the modern invention and advocacy of approval voting; but it has not

Introduction to the Handbook on Approval Voting

Since the publication, in 1983, of Steven Brams and Peter Fishburn’s seminal work Approval Voting, a variety of theoretical and empirical studies have enhanced our understanding of the various

Susceptibility to manipulation

All positional voting procedures can be manipulated, so it is natural to question whether some of these systems are more susceptible to being manipulated than others. In this essay, this

Approval Voting, Borda Winners, and Condorcet Winners: Evidence From Seven Elections

We analyze 10 three-candidate elections (and mock elections) conducted under approval voting (AV) using a method developed by Falmagne and Regenwetter (1996) that allows us to construct a

Would the Borda Count Have Avoided the Civil War?

The election of 1860 was one of the most important and contentious elections in US history. It was also one of the most interesting. Four candidates from three different parties battled for the

The Burr Dilemma in Approval Voting

  • J. Nagel
  • Economics
    The Journal of Politics
  • 2007
Problems of multicandidate races in U.S. presidential elections motivated the modern invention and advocacy of approval voting; but it has not previously been recognized that the first four

Which is better: the Condorcet or Borda winner?

I address the two-century old question raised in the title and other social choice concerns while responding to Risse [11]; e.g., my paper, part of which is a written version of my 2004 Oberwolfach



The responsiveness of approval voting: Comments on Saari and Van Newenhizen

Saari and Van Newenhizen (1987) misinterpret their findings about the indeterminacy of voting systems: far from being a vice, indeterminacy is a virtue in allowing voters to be more responsive to,

The Problem of Strategic Behavior under Approval Voting

  • R. Niemi
  • Economics
    American Political Science Review
  • 1984
Approval voting is being promoted as “the election reform of the 20th century” (Brams, 1980, p. 105), and indeed if voters' preferences are dichotomous, approval voting has some remarkable qualities:

The problem of indeterminacy in approval, multiple, and truncated voting systems

It is well known that a plurality election need not reflect the true sentiments of the electorate. Some of the proposed reform procedures, such as approval and cumulative voting, share the

Manipulability of voting by sincere truncation of preferences

A weak form of strategic voting, called ‘sincere truncation,’ occurs when a voter with a strict preference ranking does not rank all his or her choices on the ballot. A voting procedure is said to be

Chaos and the Theory of Elections

Using mathematical techniques, the authors now understand how and why deterministic systems admit what appears to be highly random behavior in dynamical systems.

The Source of Some Paradoxes from Social Choice and Probability

The Optimal Ranking Method is the Borda Count

This is a comprehensive investigation of the Borda count method, which is shown to come out fairly well when compared with other ranking methods. This research was carried out in collaboration

The Design of Mechanisms for Resource Allocation