Jean-Louis Boursin

The Paradoxes of Voting Publication date : February 1, 2004

During the latest U.S. presidential elections the method of vote counting used in Florida become a burning issue. In France, the way votes are counted keeps alternating between elections on a majority basis and elections using the system of proportional representation — the country seems to swing backwards and forwards between the need for a government with a clear majority and the desire for more widely based representation.
In this book, the author reviews the various types of polling systems and examines them in the light of two tests: Does the system under scrutiny guarantee equality, and if so to what extent? Is the system coherent, that is, if voters prefer candidate A to candidate B and candidate B to candidate C, will the result of their votes express their preference of A to C?
Written in a clear, accessible style, this book by an eminent specialist on electoral issues offers some intriguing numerical examples that are as stimulating as mathematical enigmas.
This is an indispensable book for anyone who wishes to understand the recurring discussions around the various electoral systems.

Jean-Louis Boursin teaches statistics at the Institut des Sciences Politiques, in Paris.