I think we're going to see a very unusual election in terms of voting dynamics this time. I'm going to make another CSM7 prediction right now: if you're running and you're not in a null-sec bloc and you're not a CSM6 member, you're not going to make the top seven seats. It's looking to me like the top seven seats are going to get 3200 or more votes each, with a likely split of four or so null-bloc seats and three or so non-bloc CSM6 incumbents who are successful in their reelection campaigns. Newcomers are likely going to find the higher threshold impossible to crack, and I have not heard about a newcomer yet in this race that could crack that threshold the way Seleene did last year (with one possible exception).
In the mid-tier, I think we're going to see an additional three to four candidates with between 2400 and 3200 votes who just miss out on the top seven but who are going to be otherwise indistinguishable from them: null-sec candidates or CSM6 incumbents who run successful election campaigns.
In short: of the 14 CSM7 seats, I think ten or eleven of them are either going to be familiar names, or interchangeable replacements for familiar names. For instance, I don't see Killer2 winning reelection (his base is gone), but he'll be replaced with a null-sec bloc representative from the DRF, or -A-, or the like. Only the bottom three or four are going to be new faces... but interestingly enough, I think the number of votes needed for those bottom four seats is going to be a bit less than last year. I think 800 votes or so will probably do it. On the low-end, it's really looking to me like we're going to see more fragmentation than we saw last year, not less. Comments about "wasted votes" aside, I think there are going to be so many people competing for those last few seats that the margin of victory for them is going to be pretty tight and so we're going to see more of those "wasted" votes this year.
Overall, though, I think the general personality of CSM7 is going to be the same as CSM6: a very strong null-sec focused CSM with a very few wild cards here and there to make things slightly less dull and one-sided.
Right around the last week of February, I'll be endorsing who I think would be good CSM7 candidates. I'll be looking at the candidates in six categories:
- Will this candidate do the work? There are some candidates that are good selections that nevertheless have not or can not demonstrate that they have the time to commit to the CSM.
- Does this candidate best represent an important segment of the player base? On paper, this is an easy one, but I'm not judging this one on a curve. Given the limited number of chairs in Iceland, I'm going to pick the person I think most uniquely represents each segment of the player base.
- Does this candidate project a positive impression of the EVE player base? As far as I'm concerned, the CSM is becoming too important for trolls, jerks, or :lolcsm: candidates to be part of the process. Every such candidate just serves to encourage CCP to end the CSM experiment.
- Does this candidate deserve to be in the top tier? This is quite subjective, I'll admit, but I make no apologies for it. There are some people that are otherwise good candidates that nevertheless in my opinion do not deserve to be there for whatever reason.
- Do I endorse this candidate? Whether or not I'll be voting for them (see below), would I support this candidate to get one of the top seven CSM seats? I'll be choosing seven people to endorse.
- Will I myself be voting for them? Easy one, and a smaller group. I have four votes this year. I'll be looking to give one candidate two votes, and two other candidates one vote each. So most likely, three people will get a "yes" here, though it might be as low as two and as high as four.
Later today, I'll start a post listing who I think the more important, interesting, and unusual CSM7 candidates are that aren't CSM6 incumbents. As they publicly declare themselves, they'll get listed, so that's another post that I'll keep updating between now and February 29th, and I'll be choosing people off that list to look at in the six categories above.
Chances are pretty good that I'm going to do my endorsements as one or two posts instead of unique posts on each candidate, just so the people who aren't interested in this CSM stuff at all don't have too many posts to skip. ;-)
Let Election 2012 begin!