Sifting Science Through Various Voting Methods

On 10 April, during the first round of the 2022 presidential election, several hundred Strasbourg voters… were able to vote twice. At the exit of the two official polling stations, there was actually a second almost identical device, with ballot boxes, polling booths and ballot papers. However, this presented a major difference, giving citizens the option of voting using the traditional system – a first-past-the-post system in two rounds – but through other voting methods, based on points, multiple choice or here. Even the quotes. Awarded to the candidates.

It is the work of the Operation Votre Autre team, a group of CNRS researchers at four French universities in economics, which today World First results of this experiment in real conditions. What a new lesson on the election of a voting system – far from being neutral.

The team has been developing these types of protocols for each presidential election for over twenty years, inspiring other similar initiatives around the world. “The study of voting systems, called social choice theory, brings together hundreds of researchers from different backgrounds: political science, economics, mathematics, computer science …Lists economics professor Antoinette Bouzard (University of Saint-tienne) as one of the pillars of the Voter Differently team. The most dense scientific communities are found in France, where this area of ​​research experienced a real boom in the 1970s.

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The question of voting methods actually originated in the 18th century.And century, especially with the Enlightenment mathematician Nicolas de Condorcet. He was one of the first to scientifically describe the problems associated with the single-member voting system (where each voter chooses only one name from among the candidates, as in French elections). For example, any other candidate capable of a one-on-one confrontation, referred to as a “Condorcet winner”, may in some cases find himself eliminated. A major bias away from being just theoretical. During the 2007 election, centrist François Bayreu was named “the winner of the Condorcet”, according to various polls at the time. In other words, before any other candidate could be elected President of the Republic, most French people would have preferred to see François Bayreu … yet were eliminated in the first round by these same French people. It should be noted that, during the first round of this 2007 presidential election, the Vote Differently team tested two other voting methods in six French polling stations, which systematically gave the winner to François Bairu.

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