Could Approval Voting Prevent Electoral Disaster?
Steven Brams, Professor of Politics at New York University, explains how approval voting works, its benefits in an election with more than two candidates, and how it could have prevented situations like what occurred in the 2000 U.S. Presidental election.
On page 125, the following paragraph summarizes the pernicious sabotage in a Pennsylvania senate race that Santorum (R) employed to erode Casey's (D) base by spending $66K for Romanelli's (G) ballot access. The paragraph concludes with the estimate that: "Gaming the spoiler effect can be a magnitude [10 times!!] more cost effective than conventional campaign techniques."
The sixty-six thousand dollars that Santorum's supporters spent on Romanelli's signature drive was pin money. Yet an August poll showed Romanelli getting about 5 percent of the vote in a three-way race. No one expected Romanelli to retain all those votes in November. The JSM [a signature collecting company] signatures might be thrown out. These were the risks the Republican donors were taking. But say that, on the average, the sixty-six-thousand-dollar investment in Romanelli could be expected to decrease the Casey vote by 1 percent. The race was between Santorum and Casey, so decreasing the Casey vote is just as good as increasing the Santorum vote. The upshot is that sixty-six thousand dollars spent on Romanelli’s signatures could do about as much for Santorum as a million dollars spent on his own TV ads (which were mostly attacking Casey anyway). Gaming the spoiler effect can be an order of magnitude more cost-effective than conventional campaign techniques. For consultants, this was the real lesson of the Year of the Spoiler."