From electowiki

On February 15, 2021 (and for the rest of the month of February), the election-methods mailing list (the "EM-list") is celebrating its 25th birthday!!! The EM-list is a mailing list that was started in 1996 and continues to host discussions with electoral system experts and activists.[1] User:RobLa jumped the gun when he sent the "Happy Birthday" note to the mailing list.[2]


The list has long been intended a place for the discussion of the nitty-gritty details of single-winner election reform, the relative merits of different proportional representation systems, and the technical underpinnings of all election methods. "election-methods-list" discussions tend to be technical in nature (or at least, very laden with jargon), with the ultimate goal of providing recommendations and educational material to the electoral reform movement.


Wikipedia has an article on:

The list was started in 1996 by Rob Lanphier.[3]. Rob Lanphier is "User:RobLa" on this wiki</ref>. It was started as an unofficial spinoff to the "ER-list", which was more concerned about promoting single-winner STV than diving into the weeds about the theory of electoral systems.

The first message

Subject: New "election-methods" list
From: Rob Lanphier [4]
Date: Thu Feb 15 21:34:05 PST 1996
To: [elections-reform, election-methods][5]

I'm starting up an "election-methods-list" list to discuss single-winner
reform, the relative merits of different PR systems, and the technical
underpinnings of all election methods. This list is intended to
compliment, not to replace, the existing "elections-reform" list.

Please continue to discuss the various electoral reform movements in the
U.S. and throughout the world in the "elections-reform" list.
"elections-reform" is still the best forum for discussing strategies used
in reform campaigns, specific legislation addressing reform, and
educational material about reform.

What is the difference, you ask? "election-methods-list" discussions will
most likely be more technical in nature, with the ultimate goal of
providing recommendations and educational material to the members of
"elections-reform". There have been complaints in the past that
discussions on "elections-reform" have been too technical, and
"election-methods-list" has been created to offload the more prolific
technical discussions to "elections-reform". It lets folks use
"elections-reform" to stay abreast of current activity in electoral
reform without fear of their inbox exploding.

To subscribe to "election-methods-list", send mail to majordomo at eskimo.com
with no subject line (any subject will be ignored), and the following one
line in the body of your message:

subscribe election-methods-list

My apologies to anybody who stumbled on the web page that I set up a week
ago at http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/cpr/election-methods.html[6] and tried
to subscribe (and failed, because the list didn't exist yet). In the time I
was waiting for the list to get set up, I set up the web page.
Everything should *now* work according to the instructions on that page.

That's all there is to it. Let me know if you have any questions about
the new list.

Rob Lanphier
[<insert Rob's old email address here>][4]
http://www.eskimo.com/~robla [<< Rob's old website]


main article: EM-list archive

The first message is not the only message that was sent in 1996. See the following links for other messages:

See the rest of the 1996 archive here: https://electorama.com/em/archive.html#1996

February 1996

Later history

main article: EM-list archive

The archive for the election-methods mailing list is scattered all over the place.

  • During its first few years, "election-methods" it was on "eskimo.com", and was originally a "Majordomo" list.
  • In 2003, the list moved to the newly-formed Electorama.com website on Dreamhost, and transitioned to becoming a GNU Mailman-based mailing list.[7]
  • The old "Electowiki" wiki, hosted on Dreamhost was copied the Miraheze infrastructure in 2018 and rebranded "electowiki" (with a lowercase "e"). The old "Electowiki" wiki is still running to serve up history of articles written prior to 2018.
  • As of 2021, EM-list remains hosted on Dreamhost


Who knows?


  1. https://electorama.com/em/
  2. http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2021-February/002713.html
  3. First message to the new EM-list on February 15, 1996: http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/1996-February/065327.html
  4. a b robla@eskimo.com was Rob's personal email address at the time. See the archived version of "" http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/#misc to see my PGP key at the time.
  5. User:RobLa is pretty sure he sent this email to both ER-list and EM-list
  6. User:RobLa's old "politics" page can now be found at Internet Archive at this address: http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/politics/index.html
  7. election-methods list move -- Rob Lanphier, 2003 March 4</nowiki> -- [EM] election-methods list move -- Rob Lanphier, 2003 March 4