Polish and Swiss cities are putting into practice the election algorithm developed by a team of researchers with the participation of the Institute of Computer Science of AGH University.
The Method of Equal Shares is the result of several years of work on election algorithmics, conducted by a team of researchers from Poland (Warsaw University, Jagiellonian University, AGH University), France, Canada, Switzerland and Germany. AGH was represented by our researcher Professor Piotr Faliszewski. Stanisław Szufa, an assistant at the Institute of Computer Science, also took part in the research.
Wieliczka was the first municipality in Poland to put the method into practice in voting on the distribution of funds in the "Green Million" project - focused on environmental initiatives. In June, the Method of Equal Shares will be used to determine the results of the civic budget in the city of Aarau, Switzerland.
The research was conducted by the following team:
Prof. Piotr Faliszewski (AGH),
Jaroslaw Flis, PhD (UJ),
Dominik Peters, PhD (Universite Paris Dauphine),
Grzegorz Pierczynski (MIM UW),
Piotr Skowron, PhD (MIM UW),
Dariusz Stolicki, PhD (UJ),
Stanisław Szufa (AGH, UJ),
Nimrod Talmon, PhD (BGU)x
What makes the Method of Equal Shares different from the majority systems that most cities use?
If we consider only the number of votes, several similar projects - popular among the same group of voters - are often selected. The votes of other voters, such as those from less numerous neighborhoods, are in effect ignored.
In calculating the winning projects with the Method of Equal Shares, the available budget is distributed equally among voters. Projects are then considered one by one starting with those that received the most votes. A project is selected if the voters who voted for that project have the amount of money to cover its cost. Thus, one can imagine that the supporters of a project "dump" on it and are left with a smaller amount of funds. In subsequent purchases, some voters gradually lose their contractual funds, until finally they don't have enough to participate in subsequent drops. In this way, the votes of the remaining voters, those who have not yet had a say in budget decisions, gradually begin to be taken into account.
The vote in Wieliczka shows the effectiveness and fairness of the Method of Equal Shares - compared to the majority method, many more Wieliczka residents "got" the project they voted for.
More information about the method, detailed analysis and comparison of results are available at: https://equalshares.net/pl/
The research team is also trying to convince more local governments to adopt this solution.
We congratulate and thank the researchers for their practical contribution to the formation of a just society and encourage cities and municipalities to contact us and learn more about the innovative method of vote counting!