Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | November 5, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—November 6, 2009: A Test Drive for Voting Methods

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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William Poundstone is an American science author and columnist.  His books include Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It) (2008), Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street (2005), and Prisoner’s Dilemma: John von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb (1992).   

This week’s text is Poundstone’s essay “A Test Drive for Voting Methods” from the Mathematics Awareness Month Theme Essay, April 2008.  His essay addresses the question, “What is the fairest way of voting?”  He, immediately points out that the typical American system of plurality vote is the least fair.

 The plurality voting system requires: (1)  the voter to choose only one candidate and (2) that the winner receive the most votes—regardless of whether a voting majority is achieved. Poundstone test drives the approval, Borda, Condorcet, and Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) systems as alternatives to plurality voting. Each of these systems requires the voter to either rank or rate all of the candidates in the election.

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event! You can find Poundstone’s text at this website:

http://www.mathaware.org/mam/08/PoundstoneMAMessay.pdf

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