Voters overwhelmingly supported Fargo Measure 1, making their city the first in the US to adopt approval voting, an alternative voting method in which voters can vote for as many candidates as they approve of. 64% of Fargo voters approved the measure.
Professor Steven Brams, one of the pioneers of approval voting, is delighted with the outcome. “Research on this election reform began about 40 years ago,” Brams said. “But Fargo will be the first jurisdiction to adopt it in public elections, which I believe will set an example for other cities and states and maybe even the United States.”
The local effort was led by volunteers from Reform Fargo and supported by The Center for Election Science (CES), a nonpartisan nonprofit that advances better voting methods. Jed Limke, founder of Reform Fargo, said their team is excited, thrilled, and exhausted. “Excited because our hard work has been validated by the voters of the city we love, thrilled because we’ll be on the forefront of a positive change for not only for our city, but the country, and exhausted because, frankly, we’ve been working our tails off.”
With this victory in Fargo, CES is now even more hopeful about the future of alternative voting methods, as voters will finally be able to see the benefits of approval voting in a real election. According to Aaron Hamlin, Executive Director of CES, the organization plans to move forward with educational campaigns to support implementation of approval voting in cities across North Dakota.
“Fargo voters have chosen a practical solution to the plights that come with our terrible choose-one voting method. They are armed against vote splitting and spoilers. And they’ve equipped themselves with a tool to elect strong candidates, encourage diverse ideas in campaigns, and permit support for favorite candidates without worry over viability.”
North Dakota residents interested in approval voting can visit bit.ly/approvalforus to sign on to the effort to implement the method in a city near them.