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Subject [Incubator Wiki] New: BoardElectionVoteCounting
Date Mon, 10 May 2004 15:46:15 GMT
   Date: 2004-05-10T08:46:14
   Editor: <>
   Wiki: Incubator Wiki
   Page: BoardElectionVoteCounting

   Attempt at a user friendly explaination of how members vote for the board.

New Page:

The members of the foundation elect the board; typically this happens close to the annual
member's meeting.

The foundation uses a modern, if confusing, vote counting scheme that is designed to help
assure that small coherent constituencies can get a seat on the board. The vote counting design
helps to enable members to reveal their actual desires while at the same time getting engaging
in more strategic benefits of voting so that your vote will count.

Let's start with a point about strategic voting.  Strategic voting is the name for votes that
don't reveal your actual preference but instead make a calculated choice to get the maximum
benefit out of your vote.   Image there are three candidates A, B, and C.  You hate C; you
love A; you think B's ok.  In the absence of strategic voting you'd vote for A.  But say you
know that polling data shows that B and C are neck and neck in the race and A seems sure to
loose.  Strategic voters then vote for B.

Our vote counting technique helps solve that problem.  You vote for A, B, C in that order.
  Should it then becomes clear he won't win your vote will be reallocated; presumably to B.
 (Actually given that you hate C you probably shouldn't vote for him at all.)

The scheme we use gives voters more power over the election. It is important not to waste
that power. We have observed in the past that members don't understand the power the mechanism
give them.

When you vote you will reveal your rank ordered preference for candidates. Every effort is
made to get your #1 preference onto the board. If you vote in alphabetical order your sending
a strong signal that you'd prefer a board with names like Mr. Awful, and Ms. Beastly.

The vote counting proceeds in a loop.  Occasionally the loop spits out another board member.
It spits out an elected board member when ever that board member captures enough ballots to
get elected. Ballots begin assigned to the #1 candidate indicated on that ballot. As the counting
proceeds ballots are reallocated. Sometimes it becomes necessary to admit somebody not going
to get elected; at that point his ballots are reallocated. When a candidate is elected he
takes with him only enough ballots to have gotten him elected; his other ballots are sent
off the the lower ranked preferences shown on that ballot.

This means that you can vote for Mr. Marginal and if he gets enough votes he's in; if not
your #2, #3, preference will get used.

This means you can vote for Mr. Wonderful along with everybody else and after he's elected
there is a reasonable chance your ballot will live on to help elect a candidate other than
your first preference.

This voting architecture is excellent for helping to break up the tendency of elected bodies
to settle into one or two power blocks; at it's also helpful for breaking up the power of
incumbents to attract strategic voters.  It's down side is that you can end up with a board
with nine members all of whom where elected by very narrow constituencies to which they are
extremely loyal - that can make it hard to reach any consensus.

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