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We make democracy smart. Our voting is hideously out of date. And it's time the world knows it.
Aaron Hamlin
Email Verified
233 Facebook Friends
LinkedIn Verified
San Francisco, California
United States
5 Team Members

Update: We did it! Thank you for your support!

See the video this fundraiser created here: Approval Voting video. And please don't forget to vote for us in the Looking@Democracy contest!

Want to continue supporting our work? Consider a recurring donation. It's hard to imagine a better return on investment than improving our democracy.

Hi! We're The Center for Election Science!

The Center for Election Science is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 dedicated to reforming and educating on the electoral system. We're a diverse group comprised of an attorney, two software engineers, a playwright, and a mathematician. And we consult with other experts all the time.

Here's the Project:

We're creating the first-ever professionally animated video on Approval Voting with our friends at Thought Bubble.

Haven't heard of Approval Voting? There's the problem. Didn't know there was more than one way to vote? You are not alone.

What's Wrong with the Way We Vote?

Our current voting method is the vote-for-one, Plurality Voting. And it is terribleReally terrible. Can you even imagine a way to give less information? 

Plurality BallotHere are some of Plurality Voting's epic failures:

  • Not expressive, at all.
  • The vote splits between similar candidates (terrible for primaries).
  • Moderate candidates get squeezed out, even when they're popular (bad winners).
  • Spoiler alert! Candidates with little support can throw the election.
  • Fearing a wasted vote causes dishonest voting.
  • New candidates with different ideas get artificially low support because voters fear wasting their vote. Policy discussion suffers as a result.

Why Approval Voting?

Approval Voting solves a lot of problems. It's also easy to implement.

Take a look:Approval Voting Ballot

  • Expressive.
  • Works on current voting machines.
  • So easy! No runoff or complicated ranking.
  • Perfectly constitutional. Does not violate "one person, one vote."
  • You can support groups of similar candidates (great for primaries).
  • Candidates with broad support are preferred (better winners).
  • No "spoilers"! Voters can hedge their bets by adding another vote for a more viable candidate.
  • Vote your favorite(s) every single time without repercussion. This is one of very few voting methods that permits this.
  • More honest voting allows candidates to get a more accurate reflection of support. This helps new candidates, especially third parties and independents.

How Does an Animated Video on Approval Voting Help?

Our biggest obstacle is that people simply don't know that there are other ways to vote, let alone that Approval Voting is so awesome. This video project allows us to explain it succinctly, passionately, and in a way that's engaging.

And, if [when] we get fully funded, we will enter the video in the Looking@Democracy contest funded by the MacArthur Foundation. That entry would help us substantially by increasing the video's viewership. We also get a chance to fund more projects if we win the prize money.

How We'll Spend the Funds:

We're big fans of transparency. Here's the estimated cost breakdown:

Cost Breakdown

We Will Launch the Video on April 30th.

We'll begin producing the video immediately after we complete fundraising. And we'll make our launch on April 30th, which is when the Looking@Democracy contest entries are published.

Here's Our Track Record:

We incorporated and started building in 2011. We did even more in 2012. Here are some highlights:

  • Interviewed Dr. Kenneth Arrow, who won the Nobel Prize for his Impossibility Theorem on ranked voting methods.
  • Over a half dozen articles published.
  • Dozens of reference articles.
  • Gave talks on electoral systems (LWV, Science Cafe).
  • Interviewed the organizer from the Politics and Electoral Reform Working Group of Occupy Wall Street.
  • We've done electoral consulting for The Harvey Milk Club of San Francisco, German Pirate Party, and various third parties in the US.
  • We've given technical assistance and testimony at the Arizona State House; New Hampshire State House; Westminster, CO City Council; San Francisco, CA County Council; and Rhode Island Voter Choice Study Commission.

We Come Recommended.

"I heartily endorse the efforts of The Center for Election Science to apply scientific methods to the study of voting procedures and to assess their applicability to real-world elections.  Unlike many academics, members of the Center have been willing to advise election officials and politicians on the implementation of better procedures, which helps advance the practice as well as the theory of democracy."

 -Dr. Steven Brams (Pioneer of Approval Voting, professor of politics at New York University, former president of Public Choice Society) [Steven Brams video on Approval Voting]

Dr. Brams's signed book, Approval Voting (Amazon link), is among our perks listed to the right.


"The Center for Election Science is an island of common sense, clarity, and open-mindedness in a field where those commodities have been in limited supply. Given the importance of voting to every free society, they deserve our support."

William Poundstone (Bestselling author of Gaming the Vote, Carl Sagan, Prisoner's Dilemma, and Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?)

William Poundstone has also offered signed copies of his book, Gaming the Vote (Amazon link), for us. See perks on right.

Voice Your Frustration. We'll Handle the Rest.

Now you know the problem and solution. We want you to live in a world where your election method encourages you to choose your honest favoritealways!  We have the knowledge and organization to push this. All you have to do is click the "Contribute Now" button below to get some sweet rewards (see right side of page) and a tax deduction.

Indiegogo uses factors other than just contributions to determine page placement.

Help push us to the front:

  • Those icons below the video above are important. Try clicking on the FB, Twitter, and G+ buttons. You can also send an e-mail to all your friends. 
  • After donating (we take as little as $1 up to as much as you can afford), you can comment on this page by clicking on the tab above the video.
  • "Follow" this page by clicking the heart to the right of the video.

Let's you and us keep in touch:

  • We've got our own social media. Take a peek at "Also Find This Campaign On:" for our stuff. Also, you can "up" us on Reddit there,
  • Bookmark our website. We put all kinds of cool stuff on there. We think you'll like it.

Thanks for your support!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 173 people in 29 days
100% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$12,375 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 23, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Participation Criterion

    We will curse Plurality Voting in your name. And it will be fierce.

    20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $5USD
    Pareto Efficiency

    We send you an e-mail telling you (reminding, really) how awesome you are. [Plus all above]

    11 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $15USD
    The Borda Count

    We'll give you a shout out on your social media of choice (FB, Twitter, Tumblr). The internet is gonna love the crap out of you after this. Promise. [Plus all above]

    20 out of 350 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $25USD
    Preferential Method

    We'll include your name in an article among our most awesome supporters. Your name is gonna look SWEET! [Plus all above]

    27 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $50USD

    Andy, our staff Ph.D. mathematician, will send you a postcard with super cool, hand-written, voting-related math equations. Your mail carrier is going to be REALLY jealous! [Plus all above]

    12 out of 40 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $100USD
    Voter’s Paradox

    You just got a copy of Gaming the Vote signed by bestselling author William Poundstone. Score! [Plus all above]

    17 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $250USD
    Cardinal Method

    Dr. Steven Brams, the academic pioneer himself, will give you a signed copy of his book on Approval Voting. Your home just found its new centerpiece. [Plus all above]

    8 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013

    Condorcet Winner

    You get a special thanks at the end of the Approval Voting video. Prepare to be the next internet sensation! [Plus all above]

    4 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $625USD
    The Cycle

    You too get a special thanks at the end of the Approval Voting video. But, to be fair to the early supporters, they got a discounted rate. Thanks for being so awesome! [Plus all above]

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $1,000USD

    You get a personal Skype call with at least two members of our board. Jeeze, how'd you get to be so freakin' amazing? [Plus all above]

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $3,500USD
    Arrow's Impossibility Theorem

    Dr. Kenneth Arrow (that one) autographs a reprinted copy of Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 58, No. 4. (Aug., 1950) where he first published his Impossibility Theorem. Holy cow! [Plus all above] If unclaimed, this signed gem will go to the supporter with the most in public donations. Details: http://tinyurl.com/ImpTheorem

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2013
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