CES Updates

Our Top 10 Achievements Countdown for 2021

Thanks to your support, the approval voting movement has made huge strides this year. Another successful approval voting election is in the books, organizers across the country built the necessary skills to launch campaigns, and approval voting got lots of attention.

And it’s all thanks to the support of people like you. Without your advocacy and contributions, none of this would have been possible. You have a vision for the type of world you want to live in, and you’re working to achieve it through approval voting.

That’s exactly the spirit of Giving Tuesday. If you want to make an even bigger impact, consider participating in this year’s Giving Tuesday campaign through the Effective Altruism network. This is an opportunity to have your gift matched, meaning that your donation and impact will be doubled!

The clock below is counting down to Giving Tuesday, so get ready!

Now, take a look back at all you made possible in 2021, and get inspired to do even more in 2022.

1. A Successful Approval Voting Election in St. Louis

In March, St. Louis became the 2nd American city to hold an election using approval voting. The results demonstrated how this simple reform can avoid harmful vote-splitting and select candidates who have the support of their community. Both Tishaura Jones and Cara Spencer advanced to the runoff with a strong level of support that bridged the traditional geographic divide in the city. Despite the ongoing pandemic, voter turnout surged to the highest level in 20 years, and polls show that 60 percent of the voters liked approval voting. 

2. Growing Our Chapter Network

Member of the Bay Area Chapter, California Approves, stand in a grassy park holding a large banner that says "CaliforniaApproves.org" followed by "Approval Voting: Better Elections. Better Lives."

In 2020, we embarked on a mission to support approval voting activists across the country through a chapter program. Working alongside our locally-based activists, we have established chapters in communities stretching from Seattle to Boston. We’ve provided funding for legal research and polling, foundational evidence to build approval voting campaigns in every region of the country. The requests for information continue to come in, as our chapter program continues to grow. 

3. Launched the First Organizer Training Cohort 

Our chapter leaders are the strongest advocates we have in our community. But to build a national movement, we need well-trained activists with the fundamental skills necessary to run the campaigns to come. This summer our campaigns team help the first 6-week training program for a select group of our chapter leaders. Our modules covered a wide range of essential skills, ranging from individual storytelling to campaign management. These trained activists are the bedrock of our national network, and they are ready to support our burgeoning chapters–well beyond the capacity of the staff.  

4. Director of Applied Data & Research Joins the Team 

Whitney Hua

The Center for Election Science was built on research. Since 2011, our data analysis and research have been the foundation of our mission. In 2021, we made an investment to take our research capabilities to new heights when we hired Whitney Hua as our Director of Applied Data & Research. Whitney’s unique and expertise made her the perfect leader to maintain our position as the preeminent authority on voting methods and electoral reform. 

5.  Utah Approves Grabs Media Attention

Throughout 2020, chapter leaders across the country have increasingly gained public attention for our movement. Nate Allen and his advocates at Utah Approves showed how a Letter to the Editor can be an effective tool to drive attention. Utah Approves had a series of op-eds published in the Salt Lake Tribune. Other chapters like Bay Area Approves are following suit.  

6. Media & Podcasts Spreading the Word about Approval Voting

More and more Americans are learning about approval voting – the simplest solution to fix our elections. In 2021, media mentions about CES and the approval voting movement grew like never before. From op-eds on national media outlets, podcasts, and virtual debates, we’re shining a light on approval voting.  

7. Grants to Approval Voting Chapters

In 2020, our chapter program grew from an idea to a flourishing reality. To support the growth of our chapters and lay the foundation for future campaigns, The Center for Election Science provided $70,000 in grants to six chapters who applied. The grants have provided much-needed funding for legal research and initial polling to test the viability of future campaigns.  

8. Unprecedented polling project 

The Center for Election Science believes that data should drive decision-making. As the scale of our potential grows, polling has become an increasingly important part of our strategy. This fall we launched an unprecedented effort to gather preliminary data about voter attitudes about voting method reform in all 21 states where ballot initiatives are legal. This effort, spearheaded by our Director of Applied Data & Research, will yield an actionable dataset that will guide our resource allocations in 2022. Through this project, we’ll gain insight into where we can grow the movement in the short term and how to construct the initiatives.

9. New Polling Puts Seattle in Play

A view of the Seattle skyline at sunrise or sunset, featuring the Space Needle and Mt. Ranier in the background

Evidence is a critical component of our approach to the approval voting movement. Earlier this year, as part of our process to test the political viability of a potential campaign in Seattle, we commissioned a poll in partnership with SurveyUSA. The results of the poll demonstrate the growing opportunity across the country. According to the poll, 74 percent of Seattle voters are ready to support an initiative that includes approval voting. This evidence makes Seattle the next frontier in our movement.  

10. Presenting Approval Voting to Local Governments

Local governments are the laboratory of democracy. As we build broad awareness about the approval voting movement, many jurisdictions are communicating with us on a regular basis. Elected officials were a big asset during our campaigns in Fargo and St. Louis, so we look for all opportunities to present. In 2021, we gave presentations to the Charter Review Committee in Denver, CO, and Chula Vista, CA. We also presented in front of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District. 

Bonus: Growing Donor Community and New Ways to Give

Thanks to our work to spread the word about approval voting and the steadfast commitment of our members, The Center for Election Science has more active contributors than ever before. Throughout 2021, we’ve added new ways for our members to participate in and support our mission. Don’t miss our monthly events—sign up for our monthly newsletter. We’ve also made it possible for you to contribute with crypto-currency, employer-matching, or sign up to make a contribution every time alternative voting methods are mentioned in the media. Thank you for your being part of our work.