Commentary & Analysis

Board Member Spotlight: Creating Responsive Institutions

Nate Schwalb
Cambridge, MA
Loves exercising, listening to podcasts, and debating absurd hypotheticals

1. What is your professional and academic background?
I started my career in strategy consulting and now I work with faculty on research at Harvard Business School. During college, I studied a broad set of topics in policy, finance, and economics. I was first exposed to game theory and voting theory in class.

2. How did you first become interested in voting methods?
I first learned about voting methods during a college course on game theory and political institutions. It made an impression on me then, but I didn’t delve much deeper at the time. My interest was re-kindled, as many people’s interests were, by the 2016 U.S. election. It laid bare how “choose-one” voting creates a negative electoral environment and limits the influence voters ostensibly have over government.

3. Are there any issues you care about that you think could be helped by better voting methods?
I am very proud of CES for its strict non-partisan stance. I’m excited that better voting methods can create a more direct connection between what voters want and what they ultimately receive. And, I believe better voting methods will encourage politicians to put more effort into solving problems and less energy slinging mud at each other. The beauty of better voting methods is that it creates institutions responsive to the people, whatever policies the people ultimately approve.  

4. How did were you introduced to CES?
By 2017, I was convinced that approval voting deserved a chance to be tried in the real world to solve many of the problems with U.S. political institutions and that there should be much more research on voting methods. However, I was not aware of how I could help. I was introduced to CES through a friend from Boston’s Effective Altruism community and the stars just aligned.

5. What do you envision as the future for CES? Where do you hope to see the organization in 5 or 10 years?
I’m really proud of the recent win in Fargo. The ultimate direction for CES will be decided by the executive director and our donors. However, in my vision the next 5-10 years will see more electoral wins for voting reform, more research on the impact of voting methods on political institutions, and more public awareness of the problems inherent in “choose one” voting.

Are you interested in joining Nate in creating more responsive government through better voting methods? Click here to learn more about becoming a CES board member!