Voting Experiment Project Funding

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Voting Experiment

 

A Project of the Political and Electoral Reform Working Group

 

 

 

 

Request for Funds from the General Assembly: $538

 

 

Project Spokespersons for Questions and Updates:

Kay @kaay

Tim @timtpi

Stefan Agapie @stefan

 

Political and Electoral Reform Working Group Proposal for Alternative
Voting Experiment 

The PERWG is devoted to investigating and exploring reforms to open up  our nation’s political process to the many voices and constituencies that go unrepresented by the Democratic and Republican parties, which control virtually all levels of our government.  Among these potential reforms are recommendations to states and localities to experiment with alternative voting methods such as ranked choice voting, range
voting and approval voting.

There are not very many concrete experiments that have been conducted comparing and contrasting these voting systems and methods with plurality voting, the most common method employed in the United States.

We therefore would like to propose an experiment that would allow our working group to collect data on how different voting methods and systems affect the outcome of votes on a variety of issues.  This would require participants in the GA and the people of Liberty Plaza to cast votes at their leisure in a series of mock ballots on a variety of issues, that our group will organize and set up in the square.

We seek a consensus of the GA in support of our experiment to ensure that we there will be enough individuals who participate and enough data collected to be able to draw reasonably scientific  conclusions from the results.

Background

There has been long-standing consensus among experts that “first-past-the-post” voting used in US public elections mathematically favors a two-party system, and that other voting structures (ranked voting, instant runoff are just a couple of the examples) actually allow for minority voices to influence election results in a way that is far more democratic.

 

Each of the different voting models currently have their own “camps”  and “detractors” -however no one has ever done the types of large scale mock election experiments that would actually show these theoretical models in
action. That’s the challenge – stop bickering about which model is
better and SHOW which model is better!

Detailed Project Specifications

 

The PERWIG has employed the expertise of a programmer, a database expert, and an expert in voting system design to develop this voting experiment. The programming was done in objective-c and using the cocoa touch framework to create the user interface. The data will initially be stored as binary code, concurrently the data will also be stored as pure text in Unicode. The data will eventually be stored in a SQL database to allow for easy data handling and analysis.

 

Our needs:

 

An iPad (retail value $499, total $538 with tax)

 

The iPad will be programmed specifically to function as a mobile “voting booth” which will run the voting experiment and collect votes. Vote collection will be done by PERWG volunteers on-site at Zucotti Park on a daily basis, with detailed data and analysis published on our website. An administrative protocol will be devised by volunteers to ensure that members of the public do not vote more than once.

 

As the main programming and development for the project is well underway, the PERWG will be able to begin testing the Voting Experiment within 2-3 days of obtaining a suitable iPad.

 

All members of the GA will be invited to participate in and follow the results of the experiment. The PERWG would like to continue experimenting with voting methods on an ongoing basis and eventually become an in-house mobile polling center for #OWS.

5 Responses to “Voting Experiment Project Funding”

  1. tim

    I did a few minor edits to the doc, before bringing it down to facilitation. Here’s the doc:

    Voting Experiment
    A Project of the Political and Electoral Reform Working Group

    Request for Funds from the General Assembly: $538

    Project Spokespersons for Questions and Updates:
    Kay @kay
    Tim @timtpi
    Stefan Agapie @stefan

    Political and Electoral Reform Working Group Proposal for Alternative Voting Experiment

    The PERWG is devoted to investigating and exploring reforms that would lead to a more direct democracy and a more representative government. Among these potential reforms are recommendations to states and localities to experiment with alternative voting methods such as ranked choice voting, range voting and approval voting. There are not very many concrete experiments that have been conducted comparing and contrasting these voting systems and methods with plurality voting, the most common method employed in the United States.

    We have therefore begun preliminary work for an experiment that would allow our working group to collect data on how different voting methods and systems affect the outcome of votes on a variety of issues. This would require participants in the GA and the people of Liberty Plaza to cast votes at their leisure in a series of mock ballots on a variety of issues, that our group will organize and set up in the square. We seek a consensus of the GA in support of our experiment to ensure that we there will be enough individuals who participate and enough data collected to be able to draw reasonably scientific conclusions from the results.

    Background
    There has been long-standing consensus among experts that “first-past-the-post” voting used in US public elections mathematically favors a two-party system, and that other voting structures (ranked voting, instant runoff, and approval voting are just a couple of the examples) actually allow for minority voices to influence election results in a way that is far more democratic.

    Each of the different voting models currently have their own supporters, however no one has ever done the types of large scale mock election experiments that would actually show these theoretical models in action. That’s the challenge – stop bickering about which model is better and SHOW which model is better!

    Detailed Project Specifications

    The PERWG has employed the expertise of a programmer, a database expert, and an expert in voting system design to develop this voting experiment. The programming was done in objective-c and using the cocoa touch framework to create the user interface. The data will initially be stored as binary code, concurrently the data will also be stored as pure text in Unicode. The data will eventually be stored in a SQL database to allow for easy data handling and analysis.

    Our needs:

    An iPad (retail value $499, total $538 with tax)

    The iPad will be programmed specifically to function as a mobile “voting booth” which will run the voting experiment and collect votes. Vote collection will be done by PERWG volunteers on-site at Zucotti Park on a regular to daily basis, with detailed data and analysis published on our website. An administrative protocol will be devised by volunteers to ensure that members of the public do not vote more than once.

    As the main programming and development for the project is well underway, the PERWG will be able to begin testing the Voting Experiment within 2-3 days of obtaining a suitable iPad.

    All members of the GA will be invited to participate in and follow the results of the experiment. The PERWG would like to continue experimenting with voting methods on an ongoing basis and eventually become an in-house mobile polling center for #OWS.

    • michael perlman

      I support this proposal. In addition to rank, range and approval voting, other ways to make our democracy more inclusive that we can include:
      voting spread out over an entire week so that more people can vote;
      abolish voter registration (voters can have hands marked with indelible ink to insure no double voting;

  2. tim

    Submitted proposal to the facilitation group today. It is now slated to be on the agenda at the GA tomorrow (i.e. Sunday) night.

  3. Randall Burns

    This is an interesting online voting system you might want to check out.

    This is a poll we were doing in another group to prioritize elements of an online consensus process.
    1. Listening to all opinions
    2. Letting folks fully express their preferences via voting
    3. Voting until folks quit changing their minds
    4. Comparing all choices to see if we have one preferred my a majority to all others
    5. Allowing voters to change their minds after seeing the result of a vote
    6. Voting at least twice
    7. Vote until a super majority prefers a majority solution to continued debate
    8. Vote until a super majority prefers a majority solution to more voting
    9. Voting by Secret ballot
    10. Continuing until we have a specific supermajority on one point
    11. Adding a Write-ins privately
    12. Getting a 70% supermajority

    You can
    vote here

    write ins are welcome.