Conference Proceedings

Random Errors Are Not Necessarily Politically Neutral

Michelle Blom, Andrew Conway, Peter J Stuckey, Vanessa J Teague, Damjan Vukcevic

Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Springer International Publishing | Published : 2020


Errors are inevitable in the implementation of any complex process. Here we examine the effect of random errors on Single Transferable Vote (STV) elections, a common approach to deciding multi-seat elections. It is usually expected that random errors should have nearly equal effects on all candidates, and thus be fair. We find to the contrary that random errors can introduce systematic bias into election results. This is because, even if the errors are random, votes for different candidates occur in different patterns that are affected differently by random errors. In the STV context, the most important effect of random errors is to invalidate the ballot. This removes far more votes for thos..

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