Advice for project proposers
On this page, we give some advice to project proposers on issues to keep in mind when designing a project proposal for an election that uses the Method of Equal Shares.
Cities that are using the Method of Equal Shares may want to share this advice in their communications.
More expensive projects need more votes to win
When designing a project proposal, proposers should keep in mind that projects with higher costs also need a larger number of votes to have a chance of being selected by the Method of Equal Shares. As a rule of thumb, if a project would cost, for example, 10% of the total budget, then at least 10% of all voters must vote for that project for it to be selected. Therefore, a project that would take up the entire budget can basically only be selected if 100% of the votes go to that project, which of course is extremely unlikely.
Note that even if a project receives the minimum number of votes to justify its cost, there is still no guarantee that the Method of Equal Shares will select the project, if other projects receive more votes.
The given rule is just a rule of thumb. Due to the way that the Method of Equal Shares is "completed" during the computation of the winners, it is possible for a project to win with a slightly smaller share of the vote. In practice, a project costing 10% of the budget may win with as few as 6% of the votes.
Don't combine projects into one
Generally, it is not a good idea to combine distinct projects into big bundles.
In cities that use the standard method of voting for participatory budgeting (selecting the projects with the highest number of votes, without first equally dividing the budget), we see that some people combine multiple projects into one big bundle. This is done to increase the chance that the bundle will win, because it is more likely to receive more votes than a single project, and the standard voting method does not consider the cost of a project when deciding if it will win in the election.
As we discussed above, this is not true for the Method of Equal Shares: more expensive projects need more votes to be eligible to win. Therefore, a combination project may lose, while some of the individual parts would have won. We can see this effect in simulations on election data. For example, in the Bielany district of Warsaw, there are many small projects about education, and they are not selected by the standard voting method that Warsaw uses, while it seems likely that if these projects were bundled the bundle may have won. In contrast, the Method of Equal Shares selects several of these small projects for funding. More information about this is on our benefits page about categories.