On The Complexity of Manipulating Elections

Coleman, T. and Teague, V.

    We study the manipulation of voting schemes, where a voter lies about their preferences in the hope of improving the election's outcome. All voting schemes are potentially manipulable. However, some, such as the Single Transferable Vote (STV) scheme used in Australian elections, are resistant to manipulation because it is NP-hard to compute the manipulating vote(s). We concentrate on STV and some natural generalisations of it called Scoring Elimination Protocols. We show that the hardness result for STV is true only if both the number of voters and the number of candidates are unbounded-we provide algorithms for a manipulation if either of these is fixed. This means that manipulation would not be hard in practice when either number is small. Next we show that the weighted version of the manipulation problem is NP-hard for all Scoring Elimination Protocols except one, which we provide an algorithm for manipulating. Finally we experimentally test a heuristic for solving the manipulation problem and conclude that it would not usually be effective.
Cite as: Coleman, T. and Teague, V. (2007). On The Complexity of Manipulating Elections. In Proc. Thirteenth Computing: The Australasian Theory Symposium (CATS2007), Ballarat, Australia. CRPIT, 65. Gudmundsson, J. and Jay, B., Eds. ACS. 25-33.
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