[ExI] elections again; was [Time Magazine: Person of the Year: Putin(!),my vote instead: Anna Politkovskaja]

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Fri Dec 28 00:48:21 UTC 2007

On Dec 27, 2007, at 4:01 PM, spike wrote:
> Amara, Stefano, we discussed this topic at length in 2004, but I have
> thoughts that contribute new material to the old discussion.  At  
> that time
> we were thinking of ways to design a verifiably fair election.

As a meta-comment, "fair elections" as most people would describe them  
are generally a hard problem, even if every vote is always counted  
correctly.  See: Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem, Duggan-Schwartz  
Theorem, and Arrow's Theorem (among others).

While we could do a better job of making sure that individual votes  
are always counted as cast, mathematics is not sanguine about the  
creation of an ideal democratic process even though most people seem  
to intuit that such things are possible.  Manipulability is a basic  
property of the system no matter how you try to re-arrange the deck  
chairs given the current non-negotiable assumptions of democratic  
voting commonly in use.


J. Andrew Rogers

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