Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Tactical Voting

In voting systems, tactical voting (or strategic voting or sophisticated voting or insincere voting) occurs, in elections with more than two candidates, when a voter supports a candidate other than his or her sincere preference in order to prevent an undesirable outcome.

It has been shown by the Gibbard–Satterthwaite theorem that, if a voting method for choosing one of several options is completely strategy-free, then it must be either dictatorial or nondeterministic (that is, might not select the same outcome every time it is applied to the same set of voter preferences). For instance, the random ballot voting method(Networked Politics), which randomly selects the ballot of a single voter and uses this to determine the outcome, is strategy-free, but may result in different choices being selected if applied multiple times to the same set of ballots.

For example, in a simple plurality election, a voter might sometimes gain a "better" outcome by voting for a less preferred but more generally popular candidate.

However, the type of tactical voting and the extent to which it affects the character of the campaign and the results of the election vary dramatically from one voting system to another.