Infinite-population approval voting: a proposal

Infinite-population approval voting: a proposal

Abstract
This article examines the approval voting method. Approval voting is a common democratic method of collective decision-making, where each individual can write down any number of candidates or outcomes in the ballot, and then the total number of approvals is derived for each outcome.
Approval voting chooses outcomes that obtain the greatest number of approvals. In this study, we examine how approval voting can be extended to an infinite-population setting. This novel direction of research allows us to study intergenerational conflict resolution methods, whereby a vote is interpreted as the opinion of a generation on a finite set of available options (on issues such as nuclear power, fossil fuels, etc.). The article presents a number of ways approval voting can be extended to this new situation. The methodological approach is axiomatic. We consider a set of desirable properties for a voting method. Each property epitomises a principle, for example impartiality towards the electors or generations, neutrality of treatment of the options, or a principle that indicates how the interest of future generations is taken into account. By analysing the consequences of different combinations of these properties, families of voting methods can be identified that extend approval voting to this infinite-population setting.

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