BBB 2024 has started. And with it, a lesson about voting processes. The vote for the program changed. Previously, it was done by simply logging into GShow. Each logged-in person could vote as many times as they wanted, without further verification. This became problematic. The choice of BBB winners is no longer made by individuals and is now made by organized groups, capable of coordinating people and applying computational power, including scripts and bots.
From this edition onwards, a new modality called “single vote” appears. You will need to verify your CPF to be able to vote. The rule will be: one person, one vote. This modality will correspond to 50% of the weight on the scoreboard. The other type of vote remains, but is now called the “fan” vote, and corresponds to the other 50%. With this, the program tries to maintain the gigantic numbers of votes coordinated, while trying to recover the importance of the individual vote. I’ll be watching the impact of this experiment with popcorn in hand.
The reason is that voting methods influence everything. It is shocking that in 21st century democracies our way of voting continues to be similar to that of Athens in the 6th century BC: one person, one vote. With the decision being made by the majority.
One of the effects of applying majority rule is its encouragement of polarization. It ignores nuances and reduces the incentives to find common ground. The proposal that receives the most votes is the winner. Meanwhile, anyone who voted for another option or options has their vote thrown in the trash for representation purposes, even if it corresponds to 49.9% of the total. This problem materializes in any majority vote, from condominium decisions to presidential elections.
The good news is that there are other methods being tried to solve this problem. One of them interests me directly: quadratic voting. I participated in the construction of the website Concordamos.com.br, the first platform in Portuguese to carry out quadratic voting.
The idea is as follows. Instead of just one, each person receives a set of votes (e.g. 100). People can then distribute their votes among different options, depending on their preferences. You can award 40 to one candidate, 20 to another, etc. If there is a strong preference for a single candidate, you can place all your votes on that candidate. But in this case, your votes suffer a “quadratic” discount. Instead of being worth 100, they are now worth 10 in these cases of concentration. If the person divides their votes between several alternatives, the discount is smaller and their decision-making power is closer to 100.
This is an anti-polarization model. The final decision becomes a balance of the preferences of all voters, who are encouraged to distribute their votes. In this system, there are no votes thrown in the trash. The result is more representative of the preferences of all voters. Quadratic voting can be used in condominiums, company meetings or any decision-making process. The Gramado City Council, for example, has already used it. It could even be used on Big Brother. Even though building the future of democracy is not exactly the program’s concern.
It’s over – one person decides everything alone for everyone
Already – majority votes
It’s coming – experiments with quadratic voting and other democratic decision models
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