[OT] Voting systems [was Wrong ad on www.linux.org]

Tom Legrady legrady-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+AlfA at public.gmane.org
Sat Jul 3 03:01:36 UTC 2004

Or simply reach into the box of votes, and draw out ONE ballot .... 
whoever that ballot is for, is the winner.

Tom Legrady

Henry Spencer wrote:

>On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 cbbrowne-HInyCGIudOg at public.gmane.org wrote:
>>>>Simply, in each riding, you pick a candidate to win with probability
>>>>proportional to the number of votes he/she received.
>>Unfortunately, it leaves two problems:
>> 1.  It doesn't permit any way of reacting to a need for a recount;
>You don't really need recounts.  The point of a recount is to verify the
>decision in a very close race, but in this scheme, all a recount can do is
>change the odds very slightly, which is very unlikely to make a difference
>to the result.  You can simply live with that. 
>> 2.  It mandates having a _very_ good way to choose randomly.
>>     I have read _Seminumerical Algorithms_, which is a pretty
>>     canonical text on the matter; understanding that the method
>>     is good requires knowing mathematics that to the average Joe
>>     is pretty much majick.
>You're a computer guy thinking in terms of computer methods.  The key here
>is *don't use a computer*.  In any case, you're not after a pseudorandom
>number, which is what Knuth is agonizing over; real randomness is what's
>called for here. 
>Say in your district, 34,000 people voted Liberal, 27,000 voted NDP, and
>9,000 voted for assorted fringe parties :-), making a total of 70,000. 
>Use one of those drum-full-of-numbered-balls machines they use (or used
>to, last I looked) for the 6/49 lottery, except load it with a couple of
>hundred balls with numbers 0-9.  The first five out give you a number from
>0 to 99,999.  If it's 70,000 or higher, toss those balls back in and try
>again.  If it's 0-33,999, the Liberals win.  If it's 34,000-60,999, the
>NDP wins.  And likewise for the fringe parties.  The machine is easily
>audited, and you do the actual selection with the TV cameras live.
>                                                          Henry Spencer
>                                                       henry-lqW1N6Cllo0sV2N9l4h3zg at public.gmane.org
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