Pressing Toward the Prize

Week 2… Good Intentions

Posted on: February 19, 2011

Although I did not get to read Chaotic Elections as much as I had hoped (I did read a little), I have begun to formulate ideas for my Capstone outline. These are my first thoughts:

1. Define voting paradox and explain election conditions that may be problematic, i.e., there are three or more candidates or issues on the ballot, and the winning candidate or issue does not receive a majority of the votes.

2. Define various voting methods: plurality, Borda Count, Condorcet.

3. Offer brief historical background: Borda, de Condorcet, Arrow, Saari.

4. Give simple example to demonstrate the three voting methods and how different methods can produce different results when applied to the same election.

5. Explain some of the voting biases inherent to each of the methods, with examples, and the kinds of fallacies that can result.

6. Discuss how Donald Saari used mathematics to identify specific kinds of voting paradoxes, to analyze each for the causes of the various voting biases, and to determine the most reasonable voting method, i.e., the one most immune from voting method biases.

7. Offer possible reasons why, in light of existing evidence, wholesale changes have not yet been made to elections to insure that outcomes accurately reflect the will of the people

I will need much more research before I am ready to finalize my outline, and continuing research will be my plan for the week. I will refine the outline as I go, using this rough draft as a  starting place.


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  • gramsonjanessa: I can't wait to listen to your capstone presentation in the spring! Your proposal was really interesting and I'm interested to see how the linear alge
  • dewittda: This is impressive! I thought I was good because I solved a rubik’s cube once in an hour. I served with a guy in the Air Force who could solve a r
  • ZeroSum Ruler: The Euclidean algorithm should me the mainstream way we teach students how to find the GCF. Why isn't it? A mystery.


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