I was a co-founder of CES, but I left the board along with some other disgruntled founders who had some disagreements with the Executive Director, Aaron Hamlin. However, Aaron has gone on two fetch 2.4 million in grants for the organization, 50k of which went into a highly successful initiative to get Approval Voting adopted by Fargo, ND. So he’s been effective in at least one crucial way. I hope to see more, despite any historical disagreements between us.
Now, many Score Voting advocates are actually quite skeptical of the benefits of STAR Voting. It’s a perfectly fine system, but I just don’t know that it’s benefits are big enough to justify the complexity vs. plain Score Voting.
CES has chosen to focus on Approval Voting because Aaron Hamlin wants that focus. But other board members clearly do not want CES to be an Approval-only organization, and I think you can expect to see them eventually start to branch out more and provide more support (maybe even fiscal support) for other cardinal methods, such as Score Voting and STAR Voting.
That said, the Approval Voting focus is kind of understandable at this juncture. They just had a huge success in Fargo, and need to scale that out as quickly as possible while the iron’s hot. St. Louis is next in their crosshairs, and they look to have a promising campaign ahead. There are some other cities they have yet to publicly announce. But once they’ve succeeded in a handful of cities, and the fire of Approval Voting seems inextinguishable, I believe they’ll have more of a stomach for further experimentation with systems requiring a new ballot design.
Again, I’m not saying that’s an excuse per se. I think if they had provided 50k and some advisory backing for the STAR Voting initiative, it could have totally passed. It’s a shame they didn’t even make positive mention of it. But that’s just something the internal leadership at CES is going to have to iron out. If you know any good potential board members that you think they should consider, they’re open to more expertise and points of view.