The Mathematics of Voting
April 15, 2008
Bailey Hall 207
Refreshments will be served at 3:45 in Bailey 204
We will give a quick survey illustrating the kinds of mathematical questions and answers that arise from real-world voting systems. Many of these results assert that certain election-theoretic desiderata are impossible to attain. Examples include: a “simple” description of the US federal system, an equally good alternative to majority rule, a fair method of apportionment on which to base the electoral college, and voting systems for three or more alternatives in which honesty is the best policy. Along the way we'll see that sometimes (i) having a vote is just like not having a vote, (ii) a candidate can lose to an opponent that everyone likes less, and (iii) gaining a vote can lead to a loss.
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