Elections are run online, using Single-Transferrable-Vote, I believe. However, this is a pretty boring system for a game like Eve, and has already been gamed out by the various power blocs.
I have an idea for a more "entertaining" CSM voting system:
- Every account gets one vote.
- The vote is a virtual object attached to the first character who logs in once election season starts.
- The vote can be transferred from one character to another. It may not be stored or sold via the automatic trading markets.
- Characters can accumulate multiple votes.
- If your ship and pod are destroyed by another player, all the votes you hold are dropped into space and can be looted by another character.
- There is a special election station in a contested null-sec sector (maybe Providence sector?).
- A character who gets to the election station may turn in her accumulated votes, which are tallied and recorded.
- Votes may be turned in once and only once during the election season. If you turn in 40 votes and later accumulate 500 votes, your total is stuck at 40, and you cannot turn in the 500.
- The qualifying accounts with the top X totals at the end of election season are the winners.
You may need additional rules about not being able to jump directly into the election station system or surrounding constellation.
In any case, this should be a more entertaining system than the current one, ensuring that players elected to the CSM have the requisite amounts of skill and guile. You can have meta-game shenanigans where spies intercept votes and defect to other corporations with those votes. The big corps may spread out their votes via "bundlers" to avoid losing a lot of them at once.
It is an election far more in the style of Eve Online. And the most important thing is that it will be far more entertaining for the rest of us.