Archive for September, 2012

Voting is like playing the lottery

Posted: September 8, 2012 by alephnaughty in Politics
Suppose a number of candidates face off in a plurality-rule election. Excepting your vote, let the spread between the top two candidates’ vote totals be greater than one. Whichever way you vote (or don’t vote), then, the very same candidate will win the election.
Unless the would-be winner’s margin of victory is one or less, your vote cannot influence the election’s outcome. The probability of such a narrow spread is approximately zero.
Voting is not a very effective way of influencing election outcomes under most circumstances. It merely provides the possibility of influencing election outcomes. Similarly, buying a lottery ticket is not a very effective way of striking it rich under most circumstances. It merely provides the possibility of striking it rich.
Is the explanation of why people vote similar to the explanation of why people play the lottery? Are these the same people?
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