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Scientists present mathematical explanation for results of voting

Read time: 2 mins

The process of voting is the cornerstone of any democratic process. Be it selecting the leader of a nation or just deciding the laws that govern a nation, a democratic process allows the different participants and stakeholders of the election to have a uniform chance of having their choice win. The process of voting, sometime called the electoral system, can itself be carried out in many ways, sometimes depending on the outcome. A Plurality voting system selects the candidate with the highest number of votes as the winner. In a Borda voting system, the voters rank the candidates or ideas in order of preference, and the winner is the person or idea with the highest number of points. Other methods like Minimax and Copeland use more complex rules to arrive at a winner. Although various rules within each system could yield different outcomes, studies have shown the rules themselves to be in perfect agreement. In a new study, scientists from Indian Institute of Science, have attempted to provide a mathematical explanation for this agreement between the rules. As social behavior plays a major role in our voting preferences, the researchers also studied the different social parameters affecting choice. They considered a population as being comprised of small groups, each voting according to the preference of other in each faction. The study also revealed that in any population that was made of such smaller groups, more than half the voters preferred the winner of a Borda election to any other. The study allows us to better understand our voting systems, and by providing a mathematical explanation for the phenomenon, it also allows our computers to better understand them.