Gaming the Vote

Author: William Poundstone
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9781429957649
Format: PDF
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Our Electoral System is Fundamentally Flawed, But There's a Simple and Fair Solution At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a "spoiler"—a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the "impossibility theorem" of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on today's political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates' radio ads. Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.

Numbers Rule

Author: George G. Szpiro
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400834440
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Since the very birth of democracy in ancient Greece, the simple act of voting has given rise to mathematical paradoxes that have puzzled some of the greatest philosophers, statesmen, and mathematicians. Numbers Rule traces the epic quest by these thinkers to create a more perfect democracy and adapt to the ever-changing demands that each new generation places on our democratic institutions. In a sweeping narrative that combines history, biography, and mathematics, George Szpiro details the fascinating lives and big ideas of great minds such as Plato, Pliny the Younger, Ramon Llull, Pierre Simon Laplace, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John von Neumann, and Kenneth Arrow, among many others. Each chapter in this riveting book tells the story of one or more of these visionaries and the problem they sought to overcome, like the Marquis de Condorcet, the eighteenth-century French nobleman who demonstrated that a majority vote in an election might not necessarily result in a clear winner. Szpiro takes readers from ancient Greece and Rome to medieval Europe, from the founding of the American republic and the French Revolution to today's high-stakes elective politics. He explains how mathematical paradoxes and enigmas can crop up in virtually any voting arena, from electing a class president, a pope, or prime minister to the apportionment of seats in Congress. Numbers Rule describes the trials and triumphs of the thinkers down through the ages who have dared the odds in pursuit of a just and equitable democracy.

Electoral Engineering

Author: Pippa Norris
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521536714
Format: PDF, Docs
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From Kosovo to Kabul, the last decade witnessed growing interest in ?electoral engineering?. Reformers have sought to achieve either greater government accountability through majoritarian arrangements or wider parliamentary diversity through proportional formula. Underlying the normative debates are important claims about the impact and consequences of electoral reform for political representation and voting behavior. The study compares and evaluates two broad schools of thought, each offering contracting expectations. One popular approach claims that formal rules define electoral incentives facing parties, politicians and citizens. By changing these rules, rational choice institutionalism claims that we have the capacity to shape political behavior. Alternative cultural modernization theories differ in their emphasis on the primary motors driving human behavior, their expectations about the pace of change, and also their assumptions about the ability of formal institutional rules to alter, rather than adapt to, deeply embedded and habitual social norms and patterns of human behavior.

Real Choices new Voices

Author: Douglas J. Amy
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231125496
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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There is a growing realization that many of the problems afflicting American elections can be traced to the electoral system itself, in particular to our winner-take-all approach to electing officials. Douglas Amy demonstrates that switching to proportional representation elections -- the voting system used in most other Western democracies, by which officials are elected in large, multimember districts according to the proportion of the vote won by their parties -- would enliven democratic political debate, increase voter choice and voter turnout, ensure fair representation for third parties and minorities, eliminate wasted votes and "spoliers," and ultimately produce policies that better reflect the public will. Looking beyond new voting machines and other quick fixes for our electoral predicament, this new edition of Real Choices/New Voices offers a timely and imaginative way out of the frustrations of our current system of choosing leaders.

Just Elections

Author: Dennis F. Thompson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226797649
Format: PDF, Docs
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The 2000 election showed that the mechanies of voting, such as ballot design, can make a critical difference in the accuracy and fairness of our elections. But as Dennis F. Thompson persuasively shows, more fundamental issues must be addressed to ensure that our electoral system is fair. Just Elections argues that three central democratic principles - equal respect, free choice, and popular sovereignty - underlie our electoral institutions and should inform any assessment of the justice of elections. To create a fair electoral system, we must deliberate together about these principles and take greater control of the procedures that govern our elections.

Mathematics and Democracy

Author: Steven J. Brams
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400835593
Format: PDF, ePub
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Voters today often desert a preferred candidate for a more viable second choice to avoid wasting their vote. Likewise, parties to a dispute often find themselves unable to agree on a fair division of contested goods. In Mathematics and Democracy, Steven Brams, a leading authority in the use of mathematics to design decision-making processes, shows how social-choice and game theory could make political and social institutions more democratic. Using mathematical analysis, he develops rigorous new procedures that enable voters to better express themselves and that allow disputants to divide goods more fairly. One of the procedures that Brams proposes is "approval voting," which allows voters to vote for as many candidates as they like or consider acceptable. There is no ranking, and the candidate with the most votes wins. The voter no longer has to consider whether a vote for a preferred but less popular candidate might be wasted. In the same vein, Brams puts forward new, more equitable procedures for resolving disputes over divisible and indivisible goods.

Taming the Electoral College

Author: Robert William Bennett
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804754101
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book examines the history and weaknesses of the electoral college and proposes reforms that could be made to our electoral process without a constitutional amendment.

The Way We Vote

Author: Alec C. Ewald
Publisher:
ISBN:
Format: PDF, Kindle
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To a degree unique among democracies, the United States has always placed responsibility for running national elections in the hands of county, city, and town officials. The Way We Voteexplores the causes and consequences of America's localized voting system, explaining its historical development and its impact on American popular sovereignty and democratic equality. The book shows that local electoral variation has endured through dramatic changes in American political and constitutional structure, and that such variation is the product of a clear, repeated developmental pattern, not simple neglect or public ignorance. Legal materials, statutes and Congressional debates, state constitutional-convention proceedings, and the records of contested Congressional elections illuminate a long record of federal and state intervention in American electoral mechanics. Lawmakers have always understood that a certain level of disorder characterizes U.S. national elections, and have responded by exercising their authority over suffrage practices--but only in limited ways, effectively helping to construct our triply-governed electoral system.

Why Bother With Elections

Author: Adam Przeworski
Publisher: Polity
ISBN: 9781509526598
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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With the collapse of traditional parties around the world and with many pundits predicting a "crisis of democracy", the value of elections as a method for selecting by whom and how we are governed is being questioned. What are the virtues and weaknesses of elections? Are there limitations to what they can realistically achieve? In this deeply informed book world-renowned democratic theorist Adam Przeworski offers a warts-and-all analysis of elections and the ways in which they affect our lives. Elections, he argues, are inherently imperfect but they remain the least bad way of choosing our rulers. According to Przeworski, the greatest value of elections, by itself sufficient to cherish them, is that they process whatever conflicts may arise in society in a way that maintains relative liberty and peace. Whether they succeed in doing so in today's turbulent political climate remains to be seen.

Redistricting and Representation

Author: Thomas Brunell
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135925216
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Pundits have observed that if so many incumbents are returned to Congress to each election by such wide margins, perhaps we should look for ways to increase competitiveness – a centerpiece to the American way of life – through redistricting. Do competitive elections increase voter satisfaction? How does voting for a losing candidate affect voters’ attitudes toward government? The not-so-surprising conclusion is that losing voters are less satisfied with Congress and their Representative, but the implications for the way in which we draw congressional and state legislative districts are less straightforward. Redistricting and Representation argues that competition in general elections is not the sine qua non of healthy democracy, and that it in fact contributes to the low levels of approval of Congress and its members. Brunell makes the case for a radical departure from traditional approaches to redistricting – arguing that we need to "pack" districts with as many like-minded partisans as possible, maximizing the number of winning voters, not losers.