The Greater Washington Association of Unitarian Universalist Congregations used MFP to distribute a fund among its outreach activities. (About 30 voters voted repeatedly to pare 20 proposals down to 5 winners in about 1 hour.) Immediately after the meeting and some weeks later, members of the council said they were quite satisfied with the process and results. All but 1 that is; a large fellow who said it was " too much democracy". He felt the money would have been just as well spent if the chairperson had allocated it. She, however, was very grateful to share the decision with the council.
Rules for this meeting.
Set the voter's percentage of the budget.
Specify a range of allowable preferred budgets.
List items with their suggested and minimum amounts.
Leave several columns for preferred budgets and revisions.
Shade or underline every second line.
Number the items to help voters find them.
Leave blank lines for new items or splits.
Put a line for "Totals" at bottom.
Number the ballots to help count the voters.
The meeting coordinator reads the mission statement before or after presentations.
Sponsors present their projects and suggested budgets.
They may suggest other spending levels and their benefits.
"You have [6,000] (pretend) dollars, one-quarter of our budget.
Now, divide that among the  proposals.
You might want to give it all to 1 item.
Or spread it out to help several win.
Each item needs at least  supporters to win.
Items with less than  will be eliminated, 1 at a time.
Move your $ from losers to remaining items.
You are shopping for the best deals.
Do as much good as possible with the budget.
Fulfill the mission and goals cost effectively."
Show of hands:
Keep a tally of how many reps support each item.
On the first vote tally a show of hands for each item:
"Raise your hand high if you funded item 1."
Record the number of supporters and repeat for each item.
[ Facilitators: How to spot the notorious Free Rider! Beady eyes flit left and right as she quickly counts a show of hands to see if hers is needed to rescue a favorite from death. If another late hand shows up, she may pretend to scratch her head as she drops her vote. ]
[ Option: Eliminate any item that has less than  supporters. But don't eliminate 2 of a kind. ]
Find decisive voters:
When an item gets  votes, find the highest amount supported by at least  voters (the lowest of the  top votes):
Write a low budget number for the item.
"Raise your hand if you gave money to [this winner].
Put your hand down when this number is more than your vote for [this winner]."
Raise the number.
Stop when the [25th] hand goes down.
Ask that voter, "What did you budget for this?"
Write that amount on the board.
Repeat for each winning item.
Keep the current [25th] highest preferred budget on display.
Any reps who gave an item less than the top  are not among its top supporters. They are hurting themselves if they do not move their funds to raise some other item(s).
Eliminate the weakest item:
[ Before each elimination you might check the tally for that item (and near losers) by a show of hands.]
Eliminate the item with the least support.
"Move your funds from the loser to others."
Wait until almost all pens have stopped.
"Ready? If you moved money, please name all newly-supported items." Increase those tallies.
Continue moving money from excess votes and eliminated items.
A rep may move money to an item that already has  supporters if her vote is higher than at least 1 of the  earlier votes. (Or the [25th] highest may raise her own vote.) When that happens, write the new amount. Ask the item's other  supporters if any of their votes are below it. Keep the lowest of the top  on display. Remind the rep with the [26th] largest vote to move her money. This requires an awful lot of attention by voters. And in a meeting, anyone may add a vote to her ballot and forget to tell the facilitator.
[ Stop when all items have  supporters. At that point the Grand Total should equal the Budget. [If some have more than they lower the total spent; the excess may be added to general funds.]
If several items tie for elimination:
A) Ask reps who voted for 2 or more of the tied items
"Which of those would you drop?"
Eliminate the 1 with the weakest support.
B) Use Condorcet's rule:
Test A with B.
Test the loser with C.
The 1 that loses all tests is eliminated.
The minority items that are least popular according to the majority are eliminated first and the minority reps concentrate their support on their strongest proposals.)
[ "If the last couple of items struggling for % support are things you do not like, do not give money to them. Just spend too much on a favorite or give the money to the item called Next Year's Budget."
[ Near the end, point to each eliminated item and ask "Are there  of you who would definitely prefer giving [suggested cost] to [loser], and dropping some winners you voted for?" Some reps may find that the sequence of moves has led them to fund lower preferences or that they have some money left over. (A related pattern is given in a section on Movable Money Votes.) But if 1 rep is allowed to remove money from a winner, that can lead to a cascade of moves, confusing and prolonging the process. It might be a high price to pay for a small increase in the "utility value" or quality of the decision. (Computer-tallied rules such as MMV and LAR can check back quickly. But the current versions do not let reps adjust costs up or down from the suggested amounts.)
[ The last round may see a rep move money to a winning item and bump the rep with the lowest vote... who moves her money and bumps another rep and so on. Following these bumps out to the end might not be worth the council's time.
Adjust and Verify Allocations
Collect and count the ballots.
Enter the ballots on a computer program such as Political Sim.
[A project set at a fixed price is exempt from adjustment up or down.]
Total each ballot.
Adjust each ballot's Votes to = Budget.
B / T × V = adjusted V
[Adjustment could push an extreme $vote beyond the maximum or minimum allowed. It is pegged at the extreme and other $votes are adjusted again.]
Find median allocation for each winner.
Total the medians.
Adjust Medians to = Budget.
B / T × M = adjusted M
A Computerized Legislature
A legislature which votes through computers can conduct an MVP vote more quickly. Here is a ballot.
Item Min Your Adj. Your Total Ave. Adj.
name cost vote vote excess votes vote ave.
un- at, or
if < min.
Total Total Budget
Return to Future Rules.