Measuring Majority Power and Veto Power of Voting Rules

Aleksei Y. Kondratev, Alexander S. Nesterov

We study voting rules with respect to how they allow or limit a majority from dominating minorities: whether a voting rule makes a majority powerful, and whether minorities can veto the candidates they do not prefer. For a given voting rule, the minimal share of voters that guarantees a victory to one of their most preferred candidates is the measure of majority power, and the minimal share of voters that allows them to veto each of their least preferred candidates is the measure of veto power. We find tight bounds on these minimal shares for voting rules that are popular in the literature and in real elections. We order these rules according to majority power and veto power. The instant-runoff voting has both the highest majority power and the highest veto power and the plurality rule has the lowest. In general, the higher the majority power of a voting rule is, the higher its veto power. The three exceptions are: voting with proportional veto power, Black's rule, and Borda rule, which have a relatively low level of majority power and a high level of veto power and thus provide minority protection. Our results can shed light on how voting rules provide different incentives for voter participation and candidate nomination.

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