How does Approval Voting affect spoiled ballots?
Approval Voting will drastically decrease the number of Spoiled Ballots.
Technically, it’s impossible to spoil an Approval ballot by intentional markings. A candidate race in which anywhere between zero to all of the number of candidates chosen is a valid vote. Nevada recognizes a vote for all of the possible choices as a vote for none of the above. It does not invalidate the vote or the ballot.
In Colorado, clerk’s and volunteer judges review the ballots during pre-scan handling. Potential errors from food stains and crumples cause staffers to replicate ballots before feeding to their million dollar machines.
Voters have to work hard to make a paper ballot unreadable to the scanning systems. In the French and German studies, under 0.5% of voters managed to cause spoiled ballot errors. (1 error in 200 ballots)
It is very difficult to spoil an electronic ballot. This is generally caused by voter-operator error, and do-over does not require a ballot re-issue as all errors are resolved before the ballot is cast.
Choose-one seat selection on Plurality Voting ballots are treated as Spoiled whenever voters mark more than one candidate in that race.
The fact that voters do this tells us that they have more to say than Choose-one Plurality Voting permits. Consequently, in the 2000 U.S. elections, nearly two million ballots were spoiled. Choose-one Plurality Voting’s spoilage rate is approximately one in fifty, which is about four times more than Approval Voting.
Had Approval Voting been used in 2000 elections officials could have included 500,000 votes where more than one candidate was selected.
Voters naturally want to choose more than one.
Local election supervisors in counties, cities/towns, and special districts need election rules from the Colorado Secretary of State.
Home Rule communities may already use Approval Voting without SoS rules, but find them valuable.
Approval Voting for Colorado seeks additional rules, not a change to existing rules.
Use of Approval Voting will be strictly voluntary by communities and districts that want to try it.