Fargo group advocates for approval voting system

Jun 26, 2018

If voters adopt a new voting system in the city of Fargo, it will be the only city in America that uses what's called approval voting in its elections.

Jed Limke is chairman of Reform Fargo, a group gathering signatures in support of moving Fargo's voting system to approval voting. He says approval voting gives voters more options.

"Our current method in a mayoral race, for example, you get to vote for one name. Approval voting simply means you get to vote for all the names that you approve of. So we lift that restriction, and you can just check more boxes if you want."

Limke says this means voters no longer have to choose between two candidates they like who may be similar, and it eliminates "vote splitting" or "spoiler candidates" in elections. He says many of us already use the approval voting method in our everyday situations without knowing what it's called.

"When you are with a group of friends and you're wondering about, well, where should we go out to eat? Let's imagine that there's six of you making this decision. You say JL Beers, I say Burger Time, my wife says Sickies, the person in the studio over there says McDonalds - and then two people say 'let's go to Spicy Pie.' Our current system says, well, people want pizza because that got two votes, not one. It got the plurality. It got more votes than anyone else, even though the majority wanted some type of hamburger place."

Limke says the current voting system also discourages candidates from running if similar candidates are already in the race. He says they are about a hundred signatures away from having what they need to get the issue put on Fargo's citywide ballot this November.