The results of the election for the 14th Council of Stellar Management are now known. Instead of a sleepy, null sec sweep, we saw a fascinating, perhaps even controversial, example of a single transferable vote election. Since CCP supplies both a file with the raw vote totals plus an audit file containing how the voting algorithm processes the vote, I can do a little deeper dig into the results than just note who one. While a lot of would-be analysts are giving their take on places like the EVE Online sub-reddit, I’d like to think I might have some additional insight on trends and events others miss. With that explanation out of the way, here are my top takeaways from the results of the voting.
1. Imperium voting power reverted to the norm. While some people are under the mistaken impression that the Goonswarm election team usually causes 6, 7, or even 8 candidates to win, in reality, the official Imperium vote semi-closely following the coalition’s official ballot usually results in 3 members winning a CSM seat. The CSM 13 election was an outlier, caused by the disqualification of TEST candidate Creecher Virpio. The removal of Creecher after the voting started resulted in The Judge winning re-election. With no drama this year, the Imperium ballot reverted back to only electing 3 candidates: Aryth, Merkelchen, and Innominate.
2. Turnout matters. In single transferable vote elections, turnout is a key factor in the power of a null sec bloc ballot. The larger the turnout, the larger the quota, or number of votes required to elect a candidate. The larger the quota, the fewer excess votes available to trickle down to the next candidate on the ballot. So while voter discipline within the Imperium improved, with 1000 more ballots following the Imperium ballot cast in 2019 compared to 2018, that only resulted in an increase of 70 votes in the trickle Innominate received from Merkelchen in the first round of the simulation. The Imperium vote never impacted below the third spot on the ballot as Innominate won his seat without reaching quota.
3. The 1000/2000 rule in CSM elections still holds mostly true. When people ask whether or not they have a shot at winning a seat on the CSM, I ask two questions. First, can they garner 1000 first place votes. The second, do they have a path to 2000 votes. If the answer to both is yes, then the candidate is a serious contender.
In this year's election, Steve Ronuken defeated Sort Dragon for the last seat, 2332 to 2321. Sort received 1500 initial first place votes, compared to Steve's 920. This year marks the 10th time a candidate received 1000 or more initial first place ballots and lost. Sort also earned the distinction of becoming the first candidate to accomplish the feat twice. The previous candidates who lost while achieving 1000 initial first place ballots are:
1678 - Greene Lee
1616 - Nathan Jameson
1525 - Psychotic Monk
1487 - Corebloodbrothers
1286 - Steve Ronuken
1213 - Banlish
1099 - UAxDEATH
1291 - Sort Dragon
1091 - ExookiZ
Sort Dragon also became the third candidate ever, and the first since 2013, to achieve over 1000 initial first place votes and over 2000 total votes and still not win a seat. The other two were Nathan Jameson (1616/2430) and Banlish (1213/2173), both in the first STV election in 2013.
4. Vily ends the TEST curse. With Test Alliance Please Ignore’s long history as a large alliance, the fact that TEST has never before elected a member to the CSM might come as a surprise. But since the institution of the Wright single transferable vote system in 2013, some event has always intervened to prevent a member of TEST from winning. Most people who follow the CSM are familiar with the disqualification of TEST’s leading candidate Creecher Virpio last year. But such bad luck goes back to 2013, when, as a member of the HoneyBadger Coalition, TEST voted as a bloc for Sort Dragon, the leader of the coalition. TEST wound up moonwalking out of the coalition shortly afterwards.
5. Low sec tried, but came up short. When people from null sec hear complaints about the domination of the CSM by the null sec blocs, the usual response is to vote their own candidate in. No one who knows what went on during the campaign can say low sec and small gang PvP players didn't try.
The candidate players rallied behind was Stitch Kaneland from The Tuskers. He managed to pick up 937 initial first place votes at the beginning of the election, but lost in the 32nd round of the 34 round simulation with 1504 votes.
6. Wormholers get a representative, with a little help from their friends. After coming close last year, ExookiZ won a seat on CSM 14, beating Sort Dragon by 470 votes. But, the wormhole community needed help to get a representative. The help came from two places. The first was from the low sec/small gang PvP community backing Stitch Kaneland. After Stitch's elimination in round 32, ExookiZ picked up a net 359 votes on Sort Dragon, giving ExookiZ a comfortable lead. But without the trickle down vote from anti-null bloc candidate Olmeca Gold of a net 272 vote pickup over Sort, ExookiZ would have lost in the final round.