Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The flag travels through different voting methods

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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On April 10, during the first round of the 2022 presidential election, several hundred Strasbourg voters were able to vote … twice. At the exit of two official polling stations there was already a second nearly identical instrument, with ballot boxes, polling booths and ballot papers. However, this made a big difference, as it gave citizens the option to vote using the traditional system – the first-round system in two rounds – but also through other voting methods, based on marks, multiple choices or even quotes awarded to the candidates.

This process is the work of the Voter autre team, a group of CNRS researchers in economics from four French universities, which today presents to Globalism The first results of this experiment in real conditions. What brings new lessons about voting system selection – far from impartiality.

The team has worked to develop these types of protocols for every presidential election for twenty years, inspiring other similar initiatives around the world. “The study of voting systems, the so-called social choice theory, brings together hundreds of researchers from different backgrounds: political science, economics, mathematics, computer science…One of the pillars of the Voter Differentently team, Antoinette Bogard (University of Saint-Etienne) lists. The most intense scientific communities are in France, where this field of research experienced a real boom in the 1970s.

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The origins of the question of voting methods actually go back to the eighteenth centuryAnd century, in particular with the Enlightenment mathematician Nicolas de Condorcet. He was one of the first to scientifically describe the problems associated with single voting systems (in which each voter chooses only one name from among the candidates, as in the French elections). For example, a candidate able to beat everyone else, referred to as the “winner of the Condorcet”, may in some cases find himself disqualified. A major bias is far from just a theory. During the 2007 elections, centrist François Bayrou was, according to various opinion polls at the time, the “winner from Condorcet”. In other words, before any other candidate was elected President of the Republic, the majority of French would have preferred to see François Bayrou instead…and yet be eliminated by those same Frenchmen in the first round. It should be noted that during the first round of the 2007 presidential election, the Vote Differently team tested two other methods of voting in six French polling stations, systematically awarding François Bayrou the winner.

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