Lesson 5: How to get your way

For a long time politicians have recognized that they can sometimes manipulate the outcome of voting, especially with respect to passing or defeating a bill in Congress. There are many ways to do this and you often have to be creative in your thinking.

We'll look at some examples using the three voting systems we have already described which will give at least the flavor of how voters can change the outcome of an election and get what they want.

Let's go back to the situation where a group wants to order a pizza. To keep things as simple as possible, this time we will assume only one jumbo pizza is to be ordered and it can have only one topping. Imagine that you are one of the voters and that you would prefer pepperoni, you think sausage is pretty good, you can eat mushrooms too, but you absolutely can't stomach anchovies. Keeping these preferences in mind, you want to make sure that the decision is as good for you as possible.

The main idea we will use is called insincere voting or strategic voting. This means that you will actually vote for a choice other than your favorite. Why would you want to do this? Let's look at an example.