Volt Party Uses Quadratic Voting on the Blockchain

September 21, 2019

Together with Volt Germany and our technology partner LeapDAO, we tested the first quadratic voting mechanism on the blockchain.

The results give us an insight about the members priorities and their most valued topics in the party manifesto. Deora’s goal is to create a decentralised organisation platform for movements and initiatives in any form. We want to activate communities, enable educated decision making processes, facilitate easy-to-use organisational structures and give them the digital tools to reach their full sovereign power contrary to centralized structures and hierarchies. 

From September 7 to 8 Volt Germany held their second party congress in Germany in the city of Leipzig. As one of our Co-Founders Simon is part of the pan-european movement of Volt we decided to get in touch with the Volt board. The goal was to test a feature of our platform and a new voting system that allows a clear ranking of the member’s preferences. The principles and the theory of quadratic voting seemed to be the best choice to give minorities a stronger voice and balancing out monopoly power. Combined with the auditability and immutability of the blockchain we developed our voting MVP.

Since the event happened in a closed environment with limited time and physical space, we made use of the burner wallet. This simple tool enabled us to on-board people via a QR Code that creates - once scanned - a private key & wallet and opens the voting platform. Every Volt member got an introduction and his personal QR code once accredited through the Volt administration on the spot. On the web app the user can see their amount of voice credits on their wallet and a list of all proposals to vote for.

Person uses QR code to enter his wallet
A person scans his QR code to participate in the digital Quadratic Voting
Overview of the Voting Frontend
Voting overview

Quadratic voting enables the use of more than one vote on one single issue. We gave every participant 62 voice credits to distribute them according to their prioritization of topics. The trick with QV is the quadratic and exponential cost to cast one extra vote on one issue.

Quadratic Voting explanation
Explanation of Quadratical Voting

Discussion of Vote results

The vote was announced on Sunday morning on the last day of the congress, and kept open until 18:00 on Tuesday. During this time 134 out of 488 accredited party members used the Dapp to cast at least 1 vote. 1565 votes were cast in total on 19 proposals. Of these 1435 were votes to add voice-credits to a proposal, while 130 were withdrawing voice-credits from a proposal.

Quadratic Voting Results
Voting Results

The test on our platform was an optional case for the Volt members without a jurisdictional outcome. Thus 27% can be considered a great outcome. In conversations with party members we observed an affinity for online voting in many conversations.

The vote was used to generate a priority list, ranking the importance of topics for the next congress. The simple summary of the vote result is displayed in the figure on the right.

The numbers represent the total vote tokens that the topic received in exchange for voice-credits casted by the voters. These results are similar to the results that a traditional vote or budget vote would produce. No insight into the emotional weight attached by the votes available.

Quadratic Voting promises to (1.) protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority that otherwise occurs in 1 person 1 vote setups. In setups where people can buy votes Quadratic Voting can (2.) protect the majority from influential monopolies. At the beginning every-one had the same amount of credits, theoretically our setup allowed voice credits to be transferable, hence both attributes of Quadratic Votings would be interesting to observe.

Voter distributions

quadratic voting

The topic “2. Education” shows a typical distribution for most high-ranking topics. We see that a majority has decided to cast 4 or 9 voice-credits and place 2 and 3 votes respectively.

A minority of 5 voters have decided to invest 25 to 49 voice-credits and cast 5, 6 or 7 votes. We assume that for these voters the topic has an especially high or emotional value. The fact that almost 10% of the transaction volume were withdrawal transactions indicates that voters were not just lazy and tried to get rid of as many votes as possible in one go, but actually thought about the topics and adjusted their votes later.

quadratic voting

The proposal “14. Renewed Economy” show a typical distribution of a proposal ranked in the middle of the field, with a high number of abstentions and no votes with more than 9 voice-credits invested. It can be observed that this proposal has no “emotionally invested” voters, but rather has been used to “save” votes by many participants.

A naive notion of a minority can be defined as any-one who used 25 or more of their 62 voice-credits on a single proposal. We can draw the minority distribution in comparison to the ranking as in the following diagram. While the definition of minorities objectively defined and the numbers lack statistical significance, the graph indicates that minorities exist primarily in the highest and lowest ranking proposals.

quadratic voting results
Quadratic Voting - results overview



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