The following is the type of election that critics imagine. A voting bloc with greater than 50% of voters slightly prefers one candidate over the other. The minority block, on the other hand, exaggerates their ballot to favor the other candidate.
Score Voting (0-9 Scale)
% of voters Their scores
51% C1: 9, C2: 8
49% C1: 0, C2: 9
% of voters Their approvals
51% Approve: C1, C2
49% Approve: C2
Score voting (including approval voting) never prevents a majority from getting their way. That majority need only “bullet vote” for their favorite candidate, which interesting enough is exactly what mistaken IRV advocates say they’ll do.
Indeed, there are some cases when bullet voting is a prudent thing to do (more here). The above example is a good illustration of this. If the voters in the majority bloc really wanted to show a preference for one candidate over the other, they can do that. So a result that creates this outcome is an odd one unless the voters are virtually indifferent about who wins. In which case, this is hardly a catastrophe.
But we reiterate, no one is forcing them to do anything. If voters insist on “majority rule”, they are indeed free to vote only for their favorite candidate. But note the distinct difference between that tactic, and the tactic associated with IRV. With Score Voting, no voter will ever have an incentive not to vote for his true favorite candidate. Whereas with IRV, the generally advisable strategy requires “down-ranking” of preferred candidates who seem unlikely to win.