Letter: Unlike ranked choice voting, approval voting has untenable flaws

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A voting sign at the West Valley City Hall, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021.

It was good to read that our legislators finally made a sensible move regarding elections (The Tribune, Nov. 18), by turning down the proposal to add approval voting as an option to cities. Although it is better than voting for a single candidate in the present system used in most cities and in the state, it lacks some positive advantages of ranked choice voting tried in 23 municipalities earlier this month.

Approval voting assumes that a voter thinks all the chosen candidates are equal. Ranked choice voting incorporates a similar idea by not voting for candidates one does not like, and adds a clear advantage that shows a person thinks some candidates are better than others.

The simplicity of approval voting isn’t necessarily better. There’s no use to try it out to see how it works when there are obvious disadvantages. Why should the state “experiment” with something that has noticeable flaws?

We have been teaching different voting methods for 15 years in the quantitative reasoning classes at Salt Lake Community College. Students have not found that ranked choice voting (also called instant runoff) was difficult to understand.

Dale K. Nelson, Salt Lake City

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