Voting schemes for which it can be difficult to tell who won the election


We show that a voting scheme suggested by Lewis Carroll can be impractical in that it can be computationally prohibitive (specifically, NP-hard) to determine whether any particular candidate has won an election. We also suggest a class of “impracticality theorems” which say that any fair voting scheme must, in the worst-case, require excessive computation to determine a winner.

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The authors thank the editor and three anonymous referees for many helpful suggestions.

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Bartholdi, J., Tovey, C.A. & Trick, M.A. Voting schemes for which it can be difficult to tell who won the election. Soc Choice Welfare 6, 157–165 (1989).

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  • Economic Theory
  • Vote Scheme
  • Excessive Computation