Originally published in Deseret News | Readers’ Forum | Feb 2, 2021

I applaud the enthusiasm Boyd Matheson has for a new centrist party and platform (“A new political home for the ‘moveable middle’: Welcome to the Giraffe Party,” Jan. 20). In a country long admired for the robust competition in its marketplaces, we are in sore need of innovation and competition in the political arena.

Unfortunately, we have unwittingly guaranteed that the United States will always have a duopoly in politics. New political parties will never gain a foothold under our current voting method. Who wants to inadvertently help a candidate they hate by voting for a third party? This spoiler effect leads each voter to simply choose the “least bad” option from the top two choices, thus blocking the growth of additional political parties.

“Approval voting” completely removes the spoiler effect by allowing voters to approve of more than one candidate on their ballot. Voters could choose their favorite third-party candidate and the “least bad” major party candidate.

Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, is sponsoring a bill (HB174) that adds “approval voting” as an option to the 2018 Municipal Alternative Voting Pilot Program. If we want to encourage the growth of additional political parties, we need to push for this voting method.

Myles Christensen, Orem