Friday, February 22, 2013

Single Transferable Vote - Impediment to Democracy?

CCP Fozzie@kirithkodachi FYI You can vote for any number of candidates from one to fourteen. No requirement to vote for more than you want to.
So there you go. :) Thanks CCP Fozzie.

-Original Post-

So the CSM election process is getting a face-lift this year with the announcement that they are going to use the Single Transferable Vote system. I'm all in favour of this system as I think its superior to the previous system.

However, when reading the dev blog I saw one thing that concerned me:
We will be moving to a Single Transferable Vote (STV) based voting system where instead of voting for a single candidate, each voter will pick their top 14 favorite candidates and rank them from 1 to 14.
Whoa, rank 14 candidates?!

As a casual observer and follower of the CSM I typically take the field of candidates and filter them down to the five I care about, and do my research from there, ignoring the rest. Now in order to make informed decisions I'm going to have to spread my attention around a lot more and thus dedicate less time to a few candidates I care about.

I'm concerned because this might put off a lot of casual voters from voting at all when faced with this list of 28 names and having to pick 14 of them. If the vote tool is clunky, I can see a lot of people not bothering. I personally think that picking a lower number for the ballot per account, say 5 or 6, would be far more reasonable.

I guess time will tell.


  1. Going to have to be a lot of excellent candidates for me to pick that many.

    1. CCP FOzzie has twittered me that you can pick any number from 1 to 14.

    2. Ah, that is an update. But if you don't pick enough candidates, your vote might be wasted! Oh Noes!

  2. Yeah, I have to agree that ranking 14 seems like a lot. I will probably know three or four I want to vote for, and after that it will be random or comedy picks. If this is a common reaction, it could lead to some odd choices for CSM.

    Which seems to be exactly what CCP wants.

    Of course, the big alliances will probably have voter cards for its members, listing out the 14 they should pick. That seems likely to give those alliances more influence than they had before.

    Which seems to be exactly what... somebody at CCP doesn't want.

    I suppose we'll just have to see what this brings to the Galactic Student Council this time around.

    1. Yes, I have concerns about this point as well but need more time to think about it. :) If you post about it, I'll gladly link to it.

  3. It has to be 14 because that's how many seats are on CSM. Of course, if voters only want to list one candidate, that's their choice. It just means that their vote would be wasted in the case of an over vote for that candidate.

    It's actually not that onerous a task, to be honest. It is more representative of what voters actually want than FPTP, but it does also require a little more engagement from the voters. Ironically, many voters complain that voting isn't worth it because FPTP doesn't take their vote into account, but when presented with an alternative (specifically a form of proportional representation) they balk.

    As for gaming the system, well, I don't see any way to prevent it, regardless of the system chosen. Power blocs will always do what power blocs do best.

    Remember, just because there's a CSM, it doesn't mean players can't email CCP directly with concerns.

    1. Exactly. I've emailed devs I met at Vegas with questions or suggestions and gotten very nice and informative replies back. It can be done, though it does sorta feel like "jumping the chain" lol.

  4. Seems like a buff to organised blocs. Random hi sec scrub - votes for one candidate. Random Goon - gets a list of 14 CFC-sanctioned candidates ranked in the order the Coalition prefers them.

    Coalition players voting as per instructions will see more of their votes transferred than the "kinda like Jester" randoms.

    1. Any system is going to be gamed by blocs.

      There is NO WAY of preventing it.