Posted Tue, Jan 31, 2012 by The Mittani
*Primaries for Paranoids: One of the most entertaining aspects of CSM season is that - like in real-world elections - something about the process brings the crazies out of the woodwork. The sheer number of asinine conspiracy theories thrown around during a CSM election is breathtaking, even for a game which fosters paranoia as a prerequisite to survival. The most common refrain encountered in prior elections: “The CSM is a powerless PR stunt, and everything they have ‘accomplished’ was going to happen anyway.” This used to be a widespread view, but is now relegated to the fringe. The modern replacement: “The CSM has too much power; they’re literally rewriting the game to suit themselves.” I confess to feeling somewhat smug that the flavor of the raving has shifted from flat assertions of CSM impotence to lunatic terror during my august reign as Chairman.
Another common theory is that a candidate who wins - one that you don’t like - couldn’t possibly have actual support among the players: their votes must come from hacking, abuse of the Buddy Account system, or using isk to create new accounts via PLEX - a particularly expensive act of ballot-stuffing in the era of the 450m+ isk PLEX. Expect this complaint to erupt right after the election results are announced, much like the accusations of voter fraud in the aftermath of every Presidential election in the US.
*Unapologetic Political Speculation Zone: The classic Capitol Hill parlor game now comes to internet spaceships: who’s going to make it onto CSM7, who will be Chair, and where will the most heated contests be? Due to the anticipated higher turnout and the new top-seven rule, I expect that most of the nullsec blocs will only run one candidate for CSM7, where three (GSF, the Northern Coalition, and XIX) managed to get two seats each under CSM6.
This marks the first CSM election since the demise of the Northern Coalition, which has had a presence on the CSM almost since the beginning of the institution. The dissolution of that bloc - which held two main slots in CSM6 - has left its former representatives, Killer2 and Draco Llasa, without much hope of a return.
Incumbents have a natural advantage in any real world election, and UAxDeath, Meissa, Trebor, Two Step, Prometheus Exenthal, Seleene, Elise Randolph and I have already announced returning candidacies. Vile Rat, White Tree is likely to sit out and unless I screw up and my readers stop voting for me en masse, the Chair is likely to be mine.
Kelduum Revaan of Eve University is planning a run and may manage to get a top seven slot, as Eve Uni is the closest thing hisec has to a bloc - though some reports indicate that he may have already overplayed his hand. The actual bloc candidates will be secure unless they make grievous errors. GSF will put forth me (again), XIX has UAxDeath, and PL will back Seleene or Elise Randolph. Against All Authorities and TEST are both expected to put new candidates on the council. The sensible wormhole voters will rally around Two Step for an alt slot, as will the Failheap crowd for Prometheus Exenthal.
Meanwhile, there are a number of unaligned candidates vying for the remaining hisec and lowsec vote. Trebor Deahdoow and Meissa Anunthiel are the CSM6 incumbents, facing off against Issler Dainze and T’Amber, both former CSM representatives. T’Amber’s candidacy is unexpected given that in a CSM term he rage-resigned from the council, quit EVE, and deleted all his characters. This level of competition for this voter pool will be uncompromising and vicious, as only the candidate with the sharpest elbows has a hope of a top seven slot, and each new challenger dilutes the possibility of success by siphoning votes away from the frontrunner. Non-bloc candidates typically collect votes through a method called ‘vote grinding’, involving mass emails and arduous in-game conversations with individual players. The viability of vote-grinding will be sorely tested this election.
It’s too early in the cycle to make exact predictions about how the CSM7 situation will shake out; there are a lot of unknown variables and potential dark horse candidates. My personal goal is to increase the size of my vote pool far beyond the 5365 from last year, in order to demonstrate an ever-increasing mandate for the views of my constituents. Game on!