Equal Vote 0-5 Proportional Research Committee

Hello All,
As you know, Proportional Representation (PR) is in many ways the cutting edge of voting science. After careful review of the the leading options our conclusion at the Equal Vote Coalition is that not only are none of the proposals ideal, but the field itself currently lacks sufficient objective metrics for comparing and evaluating proposals.

For this reason we've decided to recruit a team of diverse voting scientists and theorists to advance this area of voting reform, to identify and develop tools and metrics to objectively evaluate and compare leading options and new proposals, and ultimately to help us find the best non-partisan multi-winner method using a 0-5 star ballot. The end result of such a project will be a non-biased research report summarizing and comparing options, with a final recommendation or slate of recommendations to the Equal Vote Coalition Board.

Justice in democracy relies on balancing a number of critical factors. At the Equal Vote Coalition, our five core principles for electoral reform are: Equality, Honesty, Accuracy, Expressiveness, and Simplicity. These principles are the foundation by which we evaluate and advance proposals for reform.

For PR or multi-winner elections there are a number of more specific considerations. Maintaining geographical representation, precinct summability, ballot consistency with the single winner method, setting minimum thresholds and quotas, as well as more philosophical questions around who our ideal winners are.

It's worth asking, is the conventional definition of "proportional" the criteria or is this just one of multiple goals that should be maximized? Can and should a PR voting method select against polarizing candidates in favor of candidates who are less hostile? Can 5 star PR methods design in better accountability, in which a toxic person can be more easily voted off the council? Can they be designed to promote diversity, without advantaging groups who's core values are anathema to that ethic? The link between PR and the rise of the NAZI party is well documented. Compared to a "choose-one-only" ballot or a ranked ballot method used for STV, the 0-5 ballot gives us the data needed to make other kinds of selection possible beyond just basic proportionality if desired.

The requirements are a commitment to the project parameters, as well as a commitment to foster an open-minded, collaborative, respectful, inclusive, diverse, and constructive team culture. Not all members of this team will be voting scientists or mathematicians and it's vital that dialogue and debate remain as transparent and accessible as possible, despite the wonky topic. When consensus can't be reached the group will make decisions using STAR Voting for multi-option questions or Approval Voting for yes/no questions. The discussion will start out online with this forum, but is open to evolving as needed. The timeline will be flexible, but with set deadlines for each stage of the project which will be set by the group itself. If you have recommendations for people who you think would be good additions to this team, especially women and people of color, please let us know.

The agreement required is that the voting methods produced or recommended by this committee will be open sourced. If the the leading proposal is adopted for recommendation by the Equal Vote Coalition it will be professionally branded, marketed, and unveiled with fanfare and all due credit, that it may go forth and foster better multi-winner elections. ​

Engaging on this forum will be taken as an agreement to the parameters outlined above.

-Sara Wol​​k
​Executive Director​
Equal Vote Coalition
STAR Voting