Study Abstract : Voting
Groups of people often have to decide among a number of alternatives; usually this is done through some method of voting. We hold elections to select the president, senators, governors, etc. In the United Nations, groups such as the General Assembly and the Security Council decide issues affecting the whole world. Coaches and sportswriters rank the best college football teams in the country, and sportswriters also elect baseball players to the Hall of Fame. People in the movie industry vote on who should get the Oscars. On a smaller level, families have to decide where to go on vacation.
these examples, many different rules for making the final decision are
used. Some elections, like those for senators, are quite simple - the
candidate with the most votes wins. Electing the president is complicated
by our electoral college system. The rules for voting in the U.N. Security
Council distinguish between permanent and temporary members. Football
polls must decide not only a first place team, but also second, third,
In the lessons which follow, we will look at several commonly used voting methods, and also see how the choice of voting method may change the outcome of the election. We will see how elections can sometimes be manipulated to produce a desired outcome, and we will look for a "best" voting method.