Disapproval Voting is:

any voting system that allows many voters to express formal disapproval simultaneously, in a system where they all share some power. Unlike most voting systems, it requires that only negative measures or choices be presented to the voter or representative. If used to select candidates for an office, or for continuation to a next round of voting or play, it is either single- or multi-winner, as everyone who is not disapproved of is in effect a winner, for that round.

Besides the occasional recall election, we do not have disapproval voting in the US. The Wikipedia page notes that in Russia, you can vote "against all" candidates, and in Canada you can decline the ballot (which doesn't count as a vote, but is tallied separately. With a large proportion of the population voting for the lesser of two evils, would it be unconstitutional or against any congressional law for a state to adopt a disapproval voting system instead of a first past the post system?

  • I don't know about congressional law, but the constitution only guarantees that states have a republican (i.e. non-monarchical) form of government.
    – Publius
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 23:05
  • Nevada has this option.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 8:56
  • 1
    @Avi - I'm not so sure that's what it means. See The Guarantee Clause, Page 893, Footnote 331. Taken figuratively, the text is a Privileges and Immunities clause for the states--though, neccessarily, tempered by the Foureenth Ammendment.
    – Rick Smith
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Avi - Footnote 331: More recently, the Court speaking through Justice O’Connor has raised without deciding the possibility that the guarantee clause is justiciable and is a constraint upon Congress’ power to regulate the activities of the States. ... The opinions draw support from a powerful argument for utilizing the guarantee clause as a judicially enforceable limit on federal power. Merritt, The Guarantee Clause and State Autonomy: Federalism for a Third Century, 88 Colum. L. Rev. 1 (1988).
    – Rick Smith
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


As far as the Constitution is concerned, states are left to themselves when implementing a voting system, with the sole exception that congress can make laws regulating the manner of elections. I can't find any record of a law required our current system or disallowing disapproval voting, so I would say its likely possible to do legally. The main hurdle would be that this is simply way more complicated to administer than a simple first past the post vote that every one understands.


Nevada has "none of the above" as a choice for every set of candidates on their ballots. Including US Senator and Congress.


A number of local and international jurisdictions use ranked voting systems. There are several models (see this Wikipedia article), but all have relative strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the instant runoff method seems to be popular in many US non-profit membership organizations. This manner of voting only has value when there are more than two candidates in an election.

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