The power to elect officials is the power to change the world , but the mathematics of voting extends far beyond the notion of majority-rule.
This election year, use COMAP materials to explore this fascinating process with your students. The candidate with the most votes wins an election. Simple, right? Wrong. The whole story has as much to do with voting methods as voting numbers.
Casting Your Ballots: Elections is a new multi-media tool from COMAP that allows students to make connections to current events.
Both CD-ROM and DVD components contain materials that help students address complex questions that are a very real part of our political system.
• How can different candidates win the same election, depending on which voting method is used? Students examine methods such as Borda, Condorcet, and plurality with runoff.
• How does mathematics define fairness? Can an election process be totally fair?
• What is power? Explore the notion of “dummies,” the Banzhaf index, coalitions, and how apparently equitable systems can easily turn out to be lopsided and unfair.
As the elections progress and dominate the headlines, students will have a deep understanding of what is happening in the world around them.
The Impossible Dream: Election Theory (30 minutes)
Five voting methods—plurality, plurality with runoff, Condorcet, Borda, and sequential runoff voting— are explained. An explanation of Nobelist Kenneth Arrow's theorem on voting theory is also featured.
More Equal than Others: Weighted Voting (30 minutes)
Fair representation issues are discussed, and fair division and apportionment problems are described. Weighted voting and winning coalitions are also explained.
Video guides and exercises for these videos are included on the CD-ROM.