What We Do

Board Chair Clay Shentrup talking on a panel at Potrero Hill Democratic Club in San Francisco.

Former Board Chair Clay Shentrup talking on a panel at Potrero Hill Democratic Club in San Francisco.

 

Board Director Dr. Andy Jennings talking at Science Cafe in Arizona.

Board Chair Dr. Andy Jennings talking at Science Cafe in Arizona.

A Little About Us

The Center for Election Science is about making democracy smart. We are a nationally-based, nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit comprised of voting system experts and activists. We incorporated in California in 2011.

We are dedicated to helping the world make better collective decisions. We recognize the peril of our choose-one plurality voting method and introduce alternatives to improve our democracy. We accomplish this goal this by educating the general public, providing open resources, engaging with organizations, and speaking before elected officials.

The Problem: Plurality Voting

Despite popular rhetoric, US elections are not that good. Really. But it’s for a reason you probably haven’t thought of – the voting method. That’s right. We’re talking about the very way you express your vote and how that vote is calculated.

Typical voting limits voters to select only one candidate. We call this plurality. The candidate chosen the most is declared the winner. But this has catastrophic consequences. Similar candidates split the vote, moderate candidates with broad support get squeezed out, and voters betray their favorite because they don’t want to waste their vote on a loser.

Consequently, we’re left with winners that don’t represent us. Even worse, the candidates challenging those incumbents—particularly third parties and independents—get artificially low support. And that stifles political dialogue.

The Solution: Approval Voting

Remove the vote-for-one restriction. Let voters pick all the candidates they want. Most votes still wins. This eliminates vote splitting. Broadly supported candidates are favored. And voters can always include their honest favorite. This is approval voting.

The solution really is that easy. It’s not that there aren’t other issues with the way we vote. There are. But we find this to be the most impacting. And so you’ll find that we focus heavily on this topic. We’re also the largest organization that focuses on approval voting.

We’re In Action

We are constantly making efforts to educate the public. Our number of articles continues to grow. We've consulted for the Webby Awards and designed their voting method, we've appeared on NPR stations, and we've been quoted by MSNBC.com. We also made a really sweet video on Approval Voting with the help of our supporters.

We’re also on the ground. We’ve done public speaking events for Science Cafe in Arizona, Left Forum in New York, Potrero Hill Democratic Club in San Francisco, and Votenet in D.C. And we’ve spoken before elected bodies such as the San Francisco City Council; Littleton, Colorado City Council; and Arizona House Judiciary Committee. We have provided counsel to civic organizations and political parties of all stripes to improve their internal election process.

We’re Here for You

Besides making articles available to you, we give you material to help you spread the word. Are you running an election yourself? Try these resources. Have something more complicated? Contact us and we can work with you as a consultant.

Like What You’ve Read?

Remember, it’s you that makes our education campaign effective. Please, share our work and reference us. Further, your generous donations keep us going.

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