Monday, 7 April 2014

Random Ballot

We all know the best of all election systems: Random Ballot.  After counting up the votes, a random vote is selected and that candidate wins.  This is the ultimate proportional representation system, where even someone who gets only one one-millionth of the vote gets their due.

But one problem with the system is that random numbers can't be audited which would make people rightly suspicious of the results in the real world.  Today it occurred to me how easy this problem is to solve.  Not only do you have the electoral officer generate a random number to determine which ballot picks the winner, but you also have each candidate pick a number as well.  Candidates are be supplied with an open source random number generator and told the number of ballots cast, but they are under no obligation to use any particular method to generate their number.

Add all the numbers up and reduce it modulo the number of ballots to choose the winning ballot.

Under this system as long as at least one of the numbers is uniformly random, the process for picking the other numbers is irrelevant.  It doesn't make the system immune to fraud, but it removes the only substantially weak link in the chain.

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