A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird (scooterbird) wrote in democracy,
A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird
scooterbird
democracy

Vote-splitting

One of the problems in a democratic election is the phenomenon of vote-splitting. As an example, suppose we ask 25 people what ice cream they wanted, chocolate or vanilla, and we receive 14 votes for chocolate. Thus, by a vote of 14-11, chocolate wins, and everyone gets chocolate.

But suppose we prepare a ballot for this group with the following choices on it:
  • chocolate ice cream, in a cone
  • chocolate ice cream, in a cup
  • vanilla ice cream

Assume that five chocolate ice cream lovers prefer to eat it out of a cup instead of a cone. Suddenly, it's 11 votes for vanilla, 9 for chocolate-on-a-cone, and 5 for chocolate-in-a-cup...and despite the fact that the majority prefer chocolate to vanilla, the group is eating vanilla.

I've done some research on the subject and read some mathematical models and such; I've talked about some options in this community at one point...but I'm interested in hearing from others on what they feel the best way would be to avoid this problem. After all, the average voter doesn't read dry math texts to figure out what to do in this situation...what do you think? Should it be corrected, and if so, how?
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