CES Updates

Open Philanthropy Project Awards CES Its First Major Grant

The Open Philanthropy Project has awarded nearly $600,000 to The Center for Election Science (CES) for its operations and programs through the 2018 year. This award fundamentally changes CES’s capacity and allows it to more directly advance its mission of empowering the public through better voting methods. This happens at a critical point when voters’ ability to intelligently elect qualified people to office becomes more paramount with each passing election.

We are proud and honored to accept this grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can and share the findings openly so that anyone can build on them. Its main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana. The Open Philanthropy Project self-identifies as part of the effective altruism community. If you missed our pitch to the effective altruism community, be sure to check it out.

This grant will allow us to bring on two additional staff members on top of retaining our executive director position. We’re excited by how this staffing will support our programs. But there’s one program in particular that we’re sure everyone is excited for. That’s our educational support for the grassroots movement taking place in Fargo, North Dakota. Locals want Fargo to become the first city in the United States to implement approval voting for elections to government office.

By simply letting voters choose as many candidates as they want, approval voting has the capacity to fundamentally change elections. Our research indicates that approval voting should tend to elect more consensus candidates, encourage candidate ideological diversity, and give independent candidates with new ideas a fair shake. This is exactly where our current vote-for-one approach consistently fails.

Fundamental reform starts with a first step. And, importantly, this step is scalable over time—capable of expanding to more cities, larger populations, and up to states and federal offices. We are grateful and, again, absolutely honored to move this reform forward.