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Designing Stable Elections: A Survey

Steven Heilman

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Abstract: We survey the design of elections that are resilient to attempted interference by third parties. For example, suppose votes have been cast in an election between two candidates, and then each vote is randomly changed with a small probability, independently of the other votes. It is desirable to keep the outcome of the election the same, regardless of the changes to the votes. It is well known that the US electoral college system is about 5 times more likely to have a changed outcome due to vote corruption, when compared to a majority vote. In fact, Mossel, O'Donnell and Oleszkiewicz proved in 2005 that the majority voting method is most stable to this random vote corruption, among voting methods where each person has a small influence on the election. We discuss some recent progress on the analogous result for elections between more than two candidates. In this case, plurality should be most stable to corruption in votes. We also survey results on adversarial election manipulation (where an adversary can select particular votes to change, perhaps in a non-random way), and we briefly discuss ranked choice voting methods (where a vote is a ranked list of candidates).

Date: 2020-06, Revised 2021-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-des and nep-pol
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2006.05460