We can significantly reduce polarized politics in the United States by officially adding just two more words to ballot instructions. Instead of “Vote for one,” our ballot instructions should read “Vote for one or more.” Call it “approval voting.” It would mean that:
• Same-party candidates no longer spoil each other’s chances.
Expensive primary elections are no longer needed.
• Election procedures and ballots are standardized — simply count all the approval votes.
More candidates will run and owe their allegiance to voters.
And with all the extra competition, incumbents would have to do a better job; big money would be less likely to buy politicians; gerrymandering would be less effective; elections would be less vitriolic; and more people would vote and have more faith in their elected officials.
Best of all, the winning candidate would have the broadest overall support of the electorate — instead of representing a polarizing bare-majority winner. “We the People” would begin to feel like “We’re all in this together.”
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.