Friday, January 20, 2012
The Cold Equations of the CSM Election
The announcement in the Winter Summit Minutes of changes to the structure of the CSM and the election process presents some interesting dilemmas for candidates who do not have the backing of Nullsec power-blocs.
For the upcoming CSM7 elections, the changes are:
* No differentiation between "main" and "alternate" CSMs.
* There are still 14 CSM delegates, but only the top 7 available CSMs go to Iceland for summits (down from 9 currently).
* In order to get on the ballot, a candidate must get a nomination thread "liked" some number of times (as yet undetermined). CCP hopes this will reduce the number of candidates.
In terms of having a say in Iceland, these changes are a huge buff to the Nullsec powers-that-be, since they can easily obtain the necessary number of votes to get into the top 7 without any active campaigning. I would not be surprised if 5 or even 6 of the top 7 slots in CSM7 go to power-bloc anointed candidates.
The key to their strategy will be to exploit their ability to focus votes on their preferred candidates, while at the same time doing everything possible to diffuse the voting power of non-bloc voters and try to get them to waste votes on candidates that have no reasonable chance of a top 7 finish.
Before we go any further, let's address CCP's attempt to reduce the number of candidates. IMHO, it's pointless, because it is trivial to game. No evil conspiracy required, people will do it for the LOLs.
With that out of the way, let's look at the numbers.
In the last election, getting the #7 spot required 2240 votes, and getting on the CSM itself required 921.
I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a 20% jump in voting in the CSM7 elections; that boosts those numbers to (roundly) 2700 and 1100 respectively.
Quite frankly, I think the threshold for getting into the top 7 is going to be higher, perhaps 2900 or even 3000. This is because the nullsec power blocs will focus their voting in order to try and guarantee they get at least 5 out of the 7 slots.
Whether they can do that (or better), or whether non-bloc candidates can manage to grab 3 of the top 7, depends entirely on how successful they are in splitting (or suppressing) the non-bloc vote.
To give you some numbers, in the last election, 33635 votes were cast for successful candidates, and 14528 were cast for candidates that did not get elected -- that's 30%. The vast majority of those wasted votes went to independent, non-bloc candidates.
This is a cruel waste of voting power, but it highlights the fundamental dilemma that potential non-bloc CSM7 candidates must face.
It is simply this: unless you can honestly say that you have 1000 votes locked up and in the bag, running for CSM just increases the voting power of the organized blocs. You need to have a constituency behind you already.
If you don't have those votes in the bag, then your best bet is to find a candidate with similar views who has a better shot at being elected to the 14, and do everything in your power to get out the vote.
The days of being an "issue" candidate (as I was during the CSM5 election) are over -- except perhaps during the nomination phase.
It's a cold equation, to be sure. But it's very cold in space.