Revamping the Primary Process?

Professor Samwick has a post up that endorses a move to ‘approval voting’ in presidential primaries.

Having watched the primary season unfold from a very nice vantage point, I think that the nomination processes would have been better served by approval voting. From a potentially long list of candidates, voters simply vote for as many of them as they find acceptable. The candidate with the most votes wins.

The main advantage of approval voting is that it allows voters the opportunity to express a preference for more than one candidate. The drawback to approval voting is that it does not provide voters with the opportunity to rank candidates within the set that they find acceptable. With approval voting, we wouldn’t see primary voters having to worry about “wasting a vote” in expressing a preference for a candidate who has little chance of achieiving [sic] a plurality. There would be less pressure on candidates to drop out of the race if they don’t “win” one of the early states. This is particularly important given how much weight the early primaries seem to have.

Read the whole thing for other ideas on how to improve the primary system.

N.B. This is the system Dartmouth has used in its trustee elections.