The year of the incumbent: In 2018, seven of the ten members of CSM 12 chose to run for re-election. All seven won. Here is a list.
Steve Ronuken (5th term)
Sort Dragon (4th term)
Aryth (3rd term)
Innominate (3rd term)
Jin'taan (3rd term)
The Judge (3rd term)
Suitonia (2nd term)
The Imperium Gets Half: A lot of people are freaking out about the fact that The Imperium managed to place five candidates on the CSM. Although the single-transferrable vote system used in the CSM voting favors the large null sec alliances by making sure they don't "waste" any votes, a lot of other factors contributed to the election result. But the domination does lend a handy hook on which to hang all the other themes of the election.
The power of the GSF ballot: The official ballot put out by Goonswarm Federation is the single most powerful force in CSM voting, and the 2018 election continued the trend. The turnout I was able to track in the voting file rose from 4273 ballots cast that contained some combination of the original six candidate slate in 2017 to 6564 ballots that had some combination of the 10 official candidates in 2018. To put the number into perspective, the official Imperium ballot made up 22.6% of all ballots cast in the CSM 13 election. Contrast that with the 22.3% of all ballots that mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy leader Sort Dragon, who won his fourth term this year.
The growth of the Imperium's share of the vote total was greatly enhanced by the coalition's growth as seen in its largest organization, Goonswarm Federation. In January 2017, two months before voting for CSM 12 began, GSF had approximately 21,000 members. When I looked at the beginning of June 2018, the number had swelled to 30,800. Still, the growth of turnout for the official ballot did increase faster than the size of the coalition.
The Creecher Effect: Even with a dominant share of ballots cast, Goonswarm Federation and The Imperium as a whole should only have won 3 seats at most. So, what explains the other two wins? The first involved the controversy and ultimate removal of Creecher Viprio from the ballot during the voting period.
Creecher, the capital director of Test Alliance Please Ignore, is a vociferous proponent of shield-tanked supercapital-class ships. Members of Pandemic Legion, an alliance heavily invested in armor-tanked supercapitals, moved to block Creecher's almost assured spot on the CSM, from which he could argue for improvements in shield capital and supercapital ships. So members of Pandemic Legion did a little digging and found logs on Pastebin showing Creecher using racial epithats in a private chat in-game, a violation of EVE Online's EULA and Terms of Service. Since the conversation occurred using CCP's communication channels, CCP could verify that the logs were not doctored and Creecher was removed from the voting.
As the STV system used in the election is a form of ranked voting, the computer algorithm used to tally the votes just ignored Creecher's votes and produced a list of the winners. The released voting files show that Creecher would have won a spot on the CSM. The candidate who benefited from Creecher's disqualification was The Judge, thus making four members from Goonswarm Federation on CSM 13.
The Ringer: The official Imperium ballot usually looks more impactful than it actually is with the inclusion of extremely strong candidates in the fourth and fifth slots. This year's candidate came out of one of The Imperium's smaller member alliances, The Initiative.. Brisc Rubal, a real-life politician from Virginia who works as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill for a maritime union, threw his hat into the CSM ring and treated the election like the real thing, including a slick, meme-filled advertisement. When the votes were counted, Brisc had 1990 first place ballots at the start of round 1 of the simulation. While not meeting the quota at the time, Brisc's vote total guaranteed victory as the 11th place candidate, Tikktock Tocktikk, only received 1661 votes when he was eliminated in the final round.
Vote buying: Rumor at Fanfest held that The Judge was attempting to buy his way onto CSM 13 by paying skill point farmers to vote for him. The rumors continued up through the end of the election, as a story emerged of The Judge buying approximately 550 votes. Did people have proof that The Judge bought votes? I don't believe so. And the vote total was suspiciously near the total required to knock The Judge into 11th place and award the final seat to Tikktock Tocktikk by 8 votes. However, even if The Judge did purchase that many votes, the rules allowed it.
A very settled election: Unlike last year when Yukiko Kamo skated at or below 10th place in every round, this year's election was basically settled after the first round. At the beginning of round 1, four candidates: Aryth, Sort Dragon, Jin'taan, and Brisc Rubal, had more votes than Tikktock Tocktikk would up with at elimination, thus securing the victory. Three other candidates, Merkelchen, Innominate, and Killah Bee, had guarenteed victory at the end of round one. The other three eventual winners, Suitonia, Steve Ronuken, and The Judge, rounded out the top 10 at the end of round one.
The lack of major voting slates: Apart from The Imperium, the only other major power that seemed to exert any effort to electing people was Guardians of the Galaxy. Due to their preferred candidate not making it to the final ballot, Pandemic Horde wound up voting for the GotG ticket of Sort Dragon and Killah Bee. Voters placed Sort Dragon and Killah Bee at the top of their ballots 1546 times, with the order reversed an additional 110 times. In contrast, the slate of Northern Coalition. of Killah Bee, Malakai Asamov, Sort Dragon, and Winter duFallen only appears 467 times. That's right, the final trickle that Killah Bee received from Sort Dragon of 1320 votes was nearly three times the support he received from his own coalition's official ballot.