Combined approval voting

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Combined approval voting (CAV) is one of many approval methods where each voter may express approval, disapproval, or indifference toward each candidate. The term "combined approval voting (CAV)" was originally introduced by Dan Felsenthal in 1989.[1] In Felsenthal's 1989 paper, "the outcome of a CAV [election] is the candidate with the largest net vote total (algebraic sum of votes in favor and votes against)", but other tabulation algorithms are discussed on English Wikipedia (in the wikipedia:combined approval voting article).

When tabulated as described, CAV is a cardinal system. It was a variation on a system called disapproval voting.[2][3]

Other names for the system:

  • "balanced approval voting (BAV)"[4][5]
  • "approval with abstention option" (AWAO),[6]
  • "true weight voting" (TWV1),[7][8]
  • "evaluative voting (EV)"[9] (though the latter can also be used for variants with more than 3 values.)
  • "net approval voting" [10][11][12] (though this term has a different definition in the context of approval-based committee selection).[13][14]

The introduction to this article was originally copied from English Wikipedia on November 26, 2020.[15]


  1. Felsenthal, Dan S. (1989). "On combining approval with disapproval voting". Behavioral Science. 34 (1): 53–60. doi:10.1002/bs.3830340105. ISSN 0005-7940. k candidates ... each voter under CAV has k votes and can, with respect to each candidate, either cast one vote in favor of this candidate, or cast one vote against this candidate, or abstain from voting for this candidate. The outcome of a CAV ballot is the candidate with the largest net vote total (algebraic sum of votes in favor and votes against)
  2. Alcantud, José Carlos R.; Laruelle, Annick (2013-09-06). "Dis&approval voting: a characterization". Social Choice and Welfare. 43 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1007/s00355-013-0766-7. hdl:10366/127275. ISSN 0176-1714. The three levels have the following interpretation: 1 means approval, 0 means indifference, abstention or ‘do not know’, and -1 means disapproval. ... We investigate the ‘dis&approval rule’, that selects the candidates who obtain the largest difference between the number of positive votes and the number of negative votes.
  3. "To approve or not to approve: this is not the question - Mapping Ignorance". Mapping Ignorance. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  4. "Can Less be Better?". Negative Vote Association. 2018-01-22. Retrieved 2020-02-28. The sum is computed for each candidate and the winner is the candidate with the largest net vote.
  5. Cohen, Paul (2014-05-29). "Article: What Might be the Best Voting System?". OpEdNews. Archived from the original on 2018-06-16. Retrieved 2020-02-28. the votes For and Against each candidate are tallied and a net vote for each candidate is computed as the difference
  6. "Highlights of the Answers To Everything". AnswersToEverything. April 8, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-11. Disapprovals are subtracted from approvals for each candidate, and candidate with highest margin of net-approval wins.
  7. Minet, Roy A. (2020-02-19). "Follow-on Election Simulation Leads to Definitive Proposal" (PDF). p. 3. TWV1 allows voters only three score values: -1, 0, and +1.
  8. Minet, Roy A. (2019-11-23). "Election Simulation Sheds New Light On Voting Methods" (PDF). p. 9. the Candidate having the highest positive (or least negative) total is the winner
  9. Claude, Hillinger (2004-06-01). "Voting and the Cardinal Aggregation of Judgments". Retrieved 2018-06-27. The alternative that maximizes the sum wins. ... I argue for a three valued scale for general elections. ... with the scale (-1 (against), 0 (neutral), +1 (for)). In a committee of experts a more differentiated rule, EV-5, with the scale (-2,- 1,0,+1,+2) may be appropriate. ... A great advantage of EV is that the voter has no strategic incentive to withdraw his vote from the candidates he likes best.
  10. cestith (2018-06-08). "What is net approval voting?". Hacker News. Retrieved 2020-02-29. you vote up, down, or neutral on each candidate. The candidate with the most approvals minus specific disapprovals wins.
  11. "Demosthenes' Game: Perhaps a Way Out". Retrieved 2020-02-29. Just two lines in the ballot: who you're for, and who you're against. The difference between 'for' and 'against' votes gives the candidate's net approval vote. Highest net approval vote wins.
  12. Kronos, Donald Arthur (2011-12-08). "An Easier Solution - A NET APPROVAL VOTING SYSTEM". Facebook. Retrieved 2020-02-29. able to indicate approval or disapproval of any number of candidates ... as additive votes to show approval and subtractive votes to show disapproval, where the candidate shown to have the highest net approval is the winner.
  13. Dey, Palash; Misra, Neeldhara; Narahari, Y. (2015-11-13). "On Choosing Committees Based on Approval Votes in the Presence of Outliers". arXiv:1511.04190 [cs.MA].
  14. Faliszewski, Piotr; Slinko, Arkadii; Talmon, Nimrod (2017-11-17). "The Complexity of Multiwinner Voting Rules with Variable Number of Winners". arXiv:1711.06641 [cs.GT].