It’s probably common-knowledge by now that the voting system is going to change. According to a recent interview with one of the wormhole candidates (I believe James Arget, but I could be wrong), they were told by Two Step that the system would change, and that Two Step has a blog post ready and waiting for the official CCP announcement.
The exact voting system is not known for sure. I think it’s a safe bet that it will be the Schulze method. CCP Veritas will be coding the new voting system. CCP Veritas has mentioned being in favour of the Schulze method on multiple occasions. Since Veritas is the one doing the work, CCP Xhagen will likely defer to whatever it is he wants to do. I don’t say this as a complaint, simply as rationale for my belief that we’ll likely be getting the Schulze method this spring.
(If on the off chance it’s not Schulze, then likely a straight-forward single transferable vote [STV] model. Either way, the voting process is similar, if not the results entirely.)
What’s interesting is that, under the previous first-past-the-post system, a large group like Goonswarm had the capability of getting two to three candidates elected. (Although, during CSM7, they chose to utilize all their voting power towards a single candidate.)
What’s interesting in a Schulze or STV system is that Goonswarm will have influence over every single candidate, not simply the one or three candidates they want elected. How they tell their members to rank candidates will have a strong influence on the overall results. Goonswarm was 1/6th of the voting electorate during CSM7. Consider also that the CFC was approximately 1/5th of the voting electorate last year, that they’ve grown in the interim, and that they’ll mostly follow the Goonswarm voting trend.
Consider further Test Alliance and the HBC. Although their voting strategy will likely differ from that of Goonswarm and the CFC, the differences are not likely to be stark. The entirety of the CFC and the HBC is approaching nearly half of the voting electorate. That’s an incredible amount of influence.
Consider, that if we’re looking at a more complex voting system, we’re likely going to see a lower overall turnout than we did for CSM7. I’m predicting 45K-50K votes, down from 60K votes last year. CFC and HBC voting will likely not suffer the same percentage decline.
I don’t point this out because I think it’s a bad thing. I’ve never been unhappy with any candidate that Goonswarm has chosen to support. I simply point it out, because if the goal was to limit the influence of the large powerblocs, it seems to me that changing the voting system will give these nullsec blocs increased power in creating a CSM to their liking. How they vote will likely determine nearly all fourteen members sitting on the council, and the order in which they sit.
Now I’m not suggesting that Goonswarm is going to stack the council with a tonne of null candidates. They’re smarter than that. They’ll look at who is running and decide who they want to serve with. I would imagine Ripard Teg, Marc Scaurus, Malcanis, Unforgiven Storm, one of the wormhole candidates, maybe even James 315, along with Mynnna, will all be on the ranking list that Goons will be encouraged to copy for their vote.
Come election time, I’d love to see the suggested rankings that Goonswarm sends out to its membership. I’d love to compare that list at the end of the election to the results. I think there’s going to be a lot of similarity between how the CFC/HBC voted and the final tally.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.