MATHEMATICS and DEMOCRACY

  1. We argue that "range voting" is the best single-winner voting method among all commonly proposed alternatives. One argument is the "Bayesian Regret" yardstick - our measurements and calculations indicate that if range voting were adopted instead of the currently most-used system, "plurality voting," humanity's lot would improve by an amount comparable to or exceeding the improvement achieved by switching from undemocratic forms of government to democracy. Estimates in http://rangevoting.org/LivesSaved.html suggest every day sooner we get range voting is expected to save 5000 lives.
  2. We argue (by analysing an explicit political strategy to get it) range voting is, in fact, an obtainable dream.
  3. Range voting has been used in hundreds of trillions of elections over the last 20 million years. (Yes, I am aware fewer than 20 billion humans ever lived. Hint: these elections do not involve humans.)
  4. We shall also discuss some other mathematical ideas for improving democracy such as the "shortest splitline" gerrymandering-abolition plan, and a plan by Ronald Rivest (as repaired by me) for low-tech fraud-proof secret ballot voting.

Speaker Bio

MIT math & physics double BS 1984;
Princeton Applied Math PhD 1988;
has worked at Bell Labs, NEC, Temple University;
founded Center for Range Voting in 2005.