Challenges to complexity shields that are supposed to protect elections against manipulation and control: a survey


DOI: 10.1007/s10472-013-9359-5

Cite this article as:
Rothe, J. & Schend, L. Ann Math Artif Intell (2013) 68: 161. doi:10.1007/s10472-013-9359-5


In the context of voting, manipulation and control refer to attempts to influence the outcome of elections by either setting some of the votes strategically (i.e., by reporting untruthful preferences) or by altering the structure of elections via adding, deleting, or partitioning either candidates or voters. Since by the celebrated Gibbard–Satterthwaite theorem (and other results expanding its scope) all reasonable voting systems are manipulable in principle and since many voting systems are in principle susceptible to many control types modeling natural control scenarios, much work has been done to use computational complexity as a shield to protect elections against manipulation and control. However, most of this work has merely yielded NP-hardness results, showing that certain voting systems resist certain types of manipulation or control only in the worst case. Various approaches, including studies of the typical case (where votes are given according to some natural distribution), pose serious challenges to such worst-case complexity results and might allow successful manipulation or control attempts, despite the NP-hardness of the corresponding problems. We survey and discuss some recent results on these challenges to complexity results for manipulation and control, including typical-case analyses and experiments, fixed-parameter tractability, domain restrictions (single-peakedness), and approximability.


Computational social choice Voting theory Manipulation Control 

Mathematics Subject Classifications (2010)

68Q17 68T99 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für InformatikHeinrich-Heine-Univ. DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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