What We Do

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

Former board member 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.

Former board member Dr. Andy Jennings talking at Science Cafe in Arizona.

A Little About Us

The Center for Election Science is dedicated to helping the world use smarter election systems. We are a nationally-based, nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit comprised of voting system experts and activists. We incorporated in California in 2011.
 
We do this because the collective decisions we make through voting dramatically impact our day-to-day lives. Smarter collective decisions whether in government or in organizations promise to provide us all with a better quality of life.
 

The Problem: Plurality Voting

Our elections are awful. A recent Princeton study declared the US an oligarchy, meaning the people at large didn't actually influence policy, even though they're voting.

Why? Our voting is ineffectual.

The US uses winner-take-all with a voting method called plurality voting where you can only choose one candidate. This voting method we normally don't think about was voted the worst there is by a group of experts from Voting Powers and Procedures out of The London School of Economics and Political Science.

This plurality voting method we're using prevents competition because no one wants to be a spoiler. This means our only viable candidates are the highly partisan nominees the major parties assign to us so that moderates and independents get no voice. We lose exposure to other ideas while we seesaw back and forth between two extremes.

We're tired of our terrible voting method taking away our voice!

The Solution: Smarter Voting Methods

We need competition in our democracy, and we need to be able to support the ideas that represent us rather than voting out of fear. That's the only way our voices will be heard.

There are a number of better voting methods out there. One in particular, however, is very simple. Enter approval voting, a voting method that works even within our crazy winner-take-all system.

Approval voting lets you choose as many candidates as you want, no ranking, and every vote counts the same. Most votes still wins. It works on our current voting machines and traditional ballots.

This tiny switch lets you support the candidates behind the ideas you care about. No more fear! You don't have to rely on the major parties telling you which candidate is best for you. You're in control because you're not afraid of wasting your vote. And better candidates can run because they no longer fear the spoiler label.

It's time that we as voters became the ones to set the agenda!

One great 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 with such a focus 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 and Popular Mechanics. 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.

Our long-term goal is to bring you approval voting and other smarter voting systems in actual government elections.

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? Don't use the same terrible voting methods our government does! Try these resources instead. Are you a mid-to-large organization with something more complicated? Contact us and we can work with you as a consultant. We also do internal research as you can see from our 2016 presidential election voting method poll where we collaborated with an international polling agency.

Like What You’ve Read?

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

Topic: 

Follow The Center for Election Science on: