Did That Lost Ballot Box Cost Me a Seat? Computing Manipulations of STV Elections
Mistakes made by humans, or machines, commonly arise when managing ballots cast in an election. In the 2013 Australian Federal Election, for example, 1,370 West Australian Senate ballots were lost, eventually leading to a costly re-run of the election. Other mistakes include ballots that are misrecorded by electronic voting systems, voters that cast invalid ballots, or vote multiple times at different polling locations. We present a method for assessing whether such problems could have made a difference to the outcome of a Single Transferable Vote (STV) election – a complex system of preferential voting for multi-seat elections. It is used widely in Australia, in Ireland, and in a range of local government elections in the United Kingdom and United States.