Frank Atwood is running for U.S. Senate on the Approval Voting Party ticket in Colorado. After graduating from high school, Frank served in the army, was awarded a Purple Heart in Viet Nam, earned an engineering degree and worked for the Navy for 25 years. He was an unenthusiastic Republican, but began to consider alternative voting methods after he realized his vote for Ross Perot might have helped Bill Clinton become President. It seemed that too often alternative candidates sabotage their philosophical allies. In the 1990’s he became a Libertarian and in 2000 witnessed the national controversy over Nader and the Green Party being perceived as spoilers. He continued to be active with the Libertarians, and often heard the “wasted vote” accusation and concerns about spoilers being created to deliberately sabotage election opponents.
In 2008, Frank was introduced to William Poundstone’s book Gaming the Vote, Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It). Since then, he has been actively advocating for a single issue: Approval Voting. In 2016 he was the Approval Voting Party Presidential candidate in Colorado, and in 2020 he was the Approval Voting Party Vice Presidential candidate in Colorado and Vermont. The AVP has chosen to field candidates as a way of introducing the concept of alternative voting methods to voters.
For major parties Approval Voting means there will be fewer spoilers and less sabotage, for alternative parties Approval Voting provides more viability and visibility. For voters, fewer dilemmas when torn between two good choices. And maybe for candidates more civility when voters can more easily express both approval and disapproval.
Approval Voting is the easiest alternative voting method to implement. Many municipalities already have multiple at-large candidate elections, usually electing two candidates; this is a limited form of Approval Voting. The ballot change is very simple: Change “Vote for only one” to “Vote for all you approve of.”
We believe that Approval Voting moves us beyond two-party thinking. You can show support for all the candidates you approve of. The candidates with the most votes wins.
Incumbents and party faithfuls are justifiably wary of changing our current voting method, especially if we change to Approval Voting. However, polling data since October 2003 shows upwardly trending popular discontent with just two parties. Gallup (2/15/21) tells us disgruntled Democrats (46%) and Republicans (63%) and 70% of independents say a third party is needed!
But voters are tired of having to choose based on electability. Approval Voting results clearly display every candidate’s true level of support. Approval Voting moves us away from a voting method that perpetuates two-party dominance.
Thank you for investigating the Approval Voting Party and I invite you to visit the Center for Election Science website for further alternative voting method details such as Duverger’s Law. https://electionscience.org/approval-voting-faqs/ .