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Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do about It)

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ISBN13: 9780809048939
ISBN10: 0809048930
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Review-A-Day

"In this lucid and well-thought-out book, Poundstone deftly illustrates how the current system is rigged for failure if more than two candidates are running for any one office....What begins to emerge is a paradox of how the most popular candidate may not win the election." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Our Electoral System is Fundamentally Flawed, But There's a Simple and Fair Solution.

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a "spoiler" — a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the "impossibility theorem" of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair — a finding that has not been lost on today's political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates' radio ads. Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.

Review:

"Behind the standard one man-one vote formula lies a labyrinth of bizarre dysfunction, according to this engaging study of the science of voting. America's system is 'the least sensible way to vote,' argues Poundstone (Fortune's Formula), prone to vote-splitting fiascoes like the 2000 election. Unfortunately, according to the author, a famous 'impossibility theorem' states that no voting procedure can accurately gauge the will of the people without failures and paradoxes. (More optimistically, Poundstone contends that important problems are solved by 'range voting,' in which voters score each candidate independently on a 1 — 10 scale.) Poundstone provides a lucid survey of electoral systems and their eccentric proponents (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, loved voting novelties), studded with colorful stories of election skullduggery by campaign consultants, whom he likens to 'terrorists... exploiting the mathematical vulnerabilities of voting itself.' His lively, accessible mix of high theory and low politics merits a thumbs-up. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate, but these results were not inevitable. In fact, such an unfair outcome need never happen again, and as William Poundstone shows in Gaming the Vote, the solution is lurking right under our noses.
 
In all five cases, the vote was upset by a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who took enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of the Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. His theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. The answer to the spoiler problem lies in a system called range voting, which would satisfy both right and left, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the U.S. electoral system.
 
The latest of several books by Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is both a wry exposé of how the political system really works and a call to action.

Synopsis:

Our Electoral System is Fundamentally Flawed, But Theres a Simple and Fair Solution

 

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates radio ads. Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system

called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.

William Poundstone is the bestselling author of ten nonfiction books, including Labyrinths of Reason and The Recursive Universe, both of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates radio ads.
 
Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.
“Poundstone always writes with the premise that thinking can be entertaining. His latest book, Gaming the Vote, clearly reasoned, well-researched, and often amusing, deals with the crucially important question: How best does a government ‘by the people decide what to do?  He does not find a definitive answer, but he shows why it is so difficult and prepares the citizen to face the question responsibly.”—Rush Holt, U.S. House of Representatives (NJ-12)

"Americans most recent encounter with 'the spoiler effect' was in 2000, when Ralph Nader diverted enough votes from Al Gore in Florida, at least one poll suggested, to tip the election to George W. Bush. By Poundstones reckoning, four other presidential races were probably skewed by minor-party candidates—'an 11 percent rate of catastrophic failure,' he writes . . . Poundstone, the author of 10 previous books, has the popular science writers knack for wrapping difficult material in enticing anecdotes. How can you not be seduced by a book that uses the Hot or Not Web site to illustrate range voting?"—Mick Sussman, The New York Times Book Review

"William Poundstone's Gaming the Vote arrives amid unusually high reader interest in equitable voting. And Mr. Poundstone is a clear, entertaining explicator of election science. He easily bridges the gaps between theoretical and popular thinking, between passionate political debate and cool mathematical certainty."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

"Gaming the Vote is about the problem of an election system that selects Candidate B when a majority would have preferred Candidate A. The book's author, William Poundstone, is not a political guy. He is a science writer. He writes not with a partisan's bile but with a technician's delight in explaining all the ways our democracy can give us what we don't want . . . This is a book that goes down easily. The reader who likes puzzles, math and politics will especially enjoy it . . . Poundstone is not a social scientist showing off but a storyteller."—Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times

“Poundstone always writes with the premise that thinking can be entertaining. His latest book, Gaming the Vote, clearly reasoned, well-researched, and often amusing, deals with the crucially important question: How best does a government ‘by the people decide what to do?  He does not find a definitive answer, but he shows why it is so difficult and prepares the citizen to face the question responsibly.”—Rush Holt, U.S. House of Representatives (NJ-12)

“In 1948 economist Kenneth Arrow dropped a bombshell on political scientists. He proved that no voting system can be perfect. Poundstones eleventh book is a superb attempt to demystify Arrows amazing achievement, and to defend ‘range voting as the best voting system yet devised. His account is interwoven with a colorful history of American elections, from the corrupt politics of Louisiana to Ralph Nader as the ‘spoiler whose splitting of the Democratic votes helped elect George W. Bush. A chapter covers Lewis Carrolls little-known valiant efforts to solve the voting problem. A raft of amusing political cartoons enliven Poundstones prose. There is no better introduction to the inescapable flaws and paradoxes of all voting systems than this eye-opening, timely volume.”—Martin Gardner, author of Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries? and more than 60 other titles

Gaming the Vote is a witty, irreverent tour dhorizon of voting theories, voting theorists, and their quarrels. Unlike many academic brouhahas, the stakes here are high. Both citizens and politicians will delight in the tales Poundstone tells, but it won't always be easy to tell whos right. Nevertheless, Poundstone cuts through a lot of the obfuscation and takes sides, which wont please everybody.”—Steven J. Brams, Department of Politics, New York University, and author of Mathematics and Democracy: Designing Better Voting and Fair-Division Procedures

Gaming the Vote is a must-read for anyone interested in the process and outcomes of voting.  Poundstone gives a clear and remarkably accurate account of the rich theoretical literature. At the same time, his examples of voting anomalies in real elections are both lively and revealing.”—Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of economics (emeritus) at Stanford University and winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economic Science

"In this masterful presentation William Poundstone sketches the history of voting systems, elucidates ideas such as Borda counts, Condorcet winners, and range voting, and shows how changing our system could make it less likely to yield paradoxical and unfair results. Ranging easily over material as disparate as Arrow's impossibility theorem and recent presidential elections, he makes it clear just how unclear is the question, 'Who won?' The book has my vote."—John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences and Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for Religion Just Don't Add Up

"Behind the standard one man-one vote formula lies a labyrinth of bizarre dysfunction, according to this engaging study of the science of voting. America's system is the least sensible way to vote, argues Poundstone, prone to vote-splitting fiascoes like the 2000 election. Unfortunately, according to the author, a famous impossibility theorem states that no voting procedure can accurately gauge the will of the people without failures and paradoxes. (More optimistically, Poundstone contends that important problems are solved by range voting, in which voters score each candidate independently on a 1–10 scale.) Poundstone provides a lucid survey of electoral systems and their eccentric proponents (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, loved voting novelties), studded with colorful stories of election skullduggery by campaign consultants, whom he likens to terrorists . . . exploiting the mathematical vulnerabilities of voting itself. His lively, accessible mix of high theory and low politics merits a thumbs-up."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

William Poundstone is the author of ten books. His latest, Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street, was published by Hill and Wang in September 2005.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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election reformer, February 16, 2008 (view all comments by election reformer)
The book is extremely well-written, and a joy to read. It would be highly recommended, except for two fatal flaws discussed below.

Poundstone's latest book deals with an issue that is fundamental to democracy, yet almost totally ignored in the U.S. While many books focus on the role of money in elections, or voter registration, or voting machine integrity, relatively few popularly written books have tackled the more fundamental question of how votes get translated into representation. This is not a question of voting machine technology, but of logic. Most Americans are remarkably unaware of the variety of voting methods available, nor of the fact that the plurality voting method that predominates in the U.S. is not the norm among modern democracies, and, in fact, is probably the most problematic of all voting methods.

Americans generally accept as inevitable that if more than two candidates are in a race, vote splitting may cause a candidate that the majority oppose to be declared elected. Poundstone points out that it doesn't have to be that way. For hundreds of years thoughtful individuals have proposed alternative means of finding majority winners, that avoid this problem. Voting methods that allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, for example, were first proposed over 150 years ago and have been used for government elections around the world for generations. He discusses the history of methods such as the borda count, condorcet pairwise comparisons, approval voting, and instant runoff voting.

Poundstone approaches the subject by telling stories about the key people involved (both historic and contemporary), making the history and theory of voting into a fascinating and compelling tale. His book avoids the technical formula-laden jargon of voting theory texts, but does justice to the concepts. He manages to present Kenneth Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (often summarized as "there is no such thing as a perfect voting method") in a way that makes it both understandable and interesting.

However, the book suffers from two fundamental shortcomings, that prompt me to give a poor overall rating. First is the fact that Poundstone focuses almost exclusively on the question of how to elect an executive, single seat office, as if this was the core problem we face. He gives scant attention to the single biggest issue of voting in democracies, that of how to achieve fair representation in legislative bodies. He discusses proportional representation in just a few pages, and never really tackles the problems inherent in all of the winner-take-all election methods that he spends the rest of the book discussing.

The other fundamental failing of the book is his championing the assertions of advocates of one particular reform as immune from the paradoxes and dilemmas facing all other voting methods. He simply accepts the claim that Range Voting, a theoretical method in which voters can give a score to each candidate, can avoid the dilemmas and tactical manipulation. Poundstone was either unaware, or chose to ignore the analysis of Nicolaus Tideman, in his 2006 book, "Collective Decisions and Voting," which led Tideman to place Range Voting on the list of "unsupportable" voting methods, because his analysis showed it to be extremely prone to strategic manipulation.

Unfortunately, this shortcoming misdirects people in the key second part of his subtitle -- "what to do about it." Readers truly taking Poundstone seriously are likely to end up banging their heads against the wall -- and perhaps making them more frustrated and alienated than ever.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780809048939
Subtitle:
Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It)
Author:
Poundstone, William
Publisher:
Hill and Wang
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
General
Subject:
Politics, practical
Subject:
Elections
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Voting -- United States.
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090217
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 18 Black-and-White Illustration
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.7 x 5.61 x 0.98 in

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Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do about It) Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Hill & Wang - English 9780809048939 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Behind the standard one man-one vote formula lies a labyrinth of bizarre dysfunction, according to this engaging study of the science of voting. America's system is 'the least sensible way to vote,' argues Poundstone (Fortune's Formula), prone to vote-splitting fiascoes like the 2000 election. Unfortunately, according to the author, a famous 'impossibility theorem' states that no voting procedure can accurately gauge the will of the people without failures and paradoxes. (More optimistically, Poundstone contends that important problems are solved by 'range voting,' in which voters score each candidate independently on a 1 — 10 scale.) Poundstone provides a lucid survey of electoral systems and their eccentric proponents (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, loved voting novelties), studded with colorful stories of election skullduggery by campaign consultants, whom he likens to 'terrorists... exploiting the mathematical vulnerabilities of voting itself.' His lively, accessible mix of high theory and low politics merits a thumbs-up. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "In this lucid and well-thought-out book, Poundstone deftly illustrates how the current system is rigged for failure if more than two candidates are running for any one office....What begins to emerge is a paradox of how the most popular candidate may not win the election." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Synopsis" by ,
At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate, but these results were not inevitable. In fact, such an unfair outcome need never happen again, and as William Poundstone shows in Gaming the Vote, the solution is lurking right under our noses.
 
In all five cases, the vote was upset by a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who took enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of the Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. His theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. The answer to the spoiler problem lies in a system called range voting, which would satisfy both right and left, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the U.S. electoral system.
 
The latest of several books by Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is both a wry exposé of how the political system really works and a call to action.
"Synopsis" by ,
Our Electoral System is Fundamentally Flawed, But Theres a Simple and Fair Solution

 

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates radio ads. Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system

called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.

William Poundstone is the bestselling author of ten nonfiction books, including Labyrinths of Reason and The Recursive Universe, both of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate. The reason was a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who takes enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. The impossibility theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on todays political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. In recent election cycles, this has led to such unlikely tactics as Republicans funding ballot drives for Green spoilers and Democrats paying for right-wing candidates radio ads.
 
Gaming the Vote shows that there is a solution to the spoiler problem that will satisfy both right and left. A system called range voting, already widely used on the Internet, is the fairest voting method of all, according to computer studies. Despite these findings, range voting remains controversial, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the American electoral system. The latest of several books by William Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is a wry exposé of how the political system really works, and a call to action.
“Poundstone always writes with the premise that thinking can be entertaining. His latest book, Gaming the Vote, clearly reasoned, well-researched, and often amusing, deals with the crucially important question: How best does a government ‘by the people decide what to do?  He does not find a definitive answer, but he shows why it is so difficult and prepares the citizen to face the question responsibly.”—Rush Holt, U.S. House of Representatives (NJ-12)

"Americans most recent encounter with 'the spoiler effect' was in 2000, when Ralph Nader diverted enough votes from Al Gore in Florida, at least one poll suggested, to tip the election to George W. Bush. By Poundstones reckoning, four other presidential races were probably skewed by minor-party candidates—'an 11 percent rate of catastrophic failure,' he writes . . . Poundstone, the author of 10 previous books, has the popular science writers knack for wrapping difficult material in enticing anecdotes. How can you not be seduced by a book that uses the Hot or Not Web site to illustrate range voting?"—Mick Sussman, The New York Times Book Review

"William Poundstone's Gaming the Vote arrives amid unusually high reader interest in equitable voting. And Mr. Poundstone is a clear, entertaining explicator of election science. He easily bridges the gaps between theoretical and popular thinking, between passionate political debate and cool mathematical certainty."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

"Gaming the Vote is about the problem of an election system that selects Candidate B when a majority would have preferred Candidate A. The book's author, William Poundstone, is not a political guy. He is a science writer. He writes not with a partisan's bile but with a technician's delight in explaining all the ways our democracy can give us what we don't want . . . This is a book that goes down easily. The reader who likes puzzles, math and politics will especially enjoy it . . . Poundstone is not a social scientist showing off but a storyteller."—Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times

“Poundstone always writes with the premise that thinking can be entertaining. His latest book, Gaming the Vote, clearly reasoned, well-researched, and often amusing, deals with the crucially important question: How best does a government ‘by the people decide what to do?  He does not find a definitive answer, but he shows why it is so difficult and prepares the citizen to face the question responsibly.”—Rush Holt, U.S. House of Representatives (NJ-12)

“In 1948 economist Kenneth Arrow dropped a bombshell on political scientists. He proved that no voting system can be perfect. Poundstones eleventh book is a superb attempt to demystify Arrows amazing achievement, and to defend ‘range voting as the best voting system yet devised. His account is interwoven with a colorful history of American elections, from the corrupt politics of Louisiana to Ralph Nader as the ‘spoiler whose splitting of the Democratic votes helped elect George W. Bush. A chapter covers Lewis Carrolls little-known valiant efforts to solve the voting problem. A raft of amusing political cartoons enliven Poundstones prose. There is no better introduction to the inescapable flaws and paradoxes of all voting systems than this eye-opening, timely volume.”—Martin Gardner, author of Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries? and more than 60 other titles

Gaming the Vote is a witty, irreverent tour dhorizon of voting theories, voting theorists, and their quarrels. Unlike many academic brouhahas, the stakes here are high. Both citizens and politicians will delight in the tales Poundstone tells, but it won't always be easy to tell whos right. Nevertheless, Poundstone cuts through a lot of the obfuscation and takes sides, which wont please everybody.”—Steven J. Brams, Department of Politics, New York University, and author of Mathematics and Democracy: Designing Better Voting and Fair-Division Procedures

Gaming the Vote is a must-read for anyone interested in the process and outcomes of voting.  Poundstone gives a clear and remarkably accurate account of the rich theoretical literature. At the same time, his examples of voting anomalies in real elections are both lively and revealing.”—Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of economics (emeritus) at Stanford University and winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economic Science

"In this masterful presentation William Poundstone sketches the history of voting systems, elucidates ideas such as Borda counts, Condorcet winners, and range voting, and shows how changing our system could make it less likely to yield paradoxical and unfair results. Ranging easily over material as disparate as Arrow's impossibility theorem and recent presidential elections, he makes it clear just how unclear is the question, 'Who won?' The book has my vote."—John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences and Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for Religion Just Don't Add Up

"Behind the standard one man-one vote formula lies a labyrinth of bizarre dysfunction, according to this engaging study of the science of voting. America's system is the least sensible way to vote, argues Poundstone, prone to vote-splitting fiascoes like the 2000 election. Unfortunately, according to the author, a famous impossibility theorem states that no voting procedure can accurately gauge the will of the people without failures and paradoxes. (More optimistically, Poundstone contends that important problems are solved by range voting, in which voters score each candidate independently on a 1–10 scale.) Poundstone provides a lucid survey of electoral systems and their eccentric proponents (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, loved voting novelties), studded with colorful stories of election skullduggery by campaign consultants, whom he likens to terrorists . . . exploiting the mathematical vulnerabilities of voting itself. His lively, accessible mix of high theory and low politics merits a thumbs-up."—Publishers Weekly

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