Albion College

Mathematics and Computer Science

Mathematics and Computer Science

COLLOQUIUM

The Separability Problem in Referendum Elections: Some Recent Developments

Jonathan Hodge

In referendum elections, voters are often required to register simultaneous votes on multiple proposals. The separability problem, first identified in the late 1990s, occurs when a voter's preferences on one or more proposals depend on the known or predicted outcomes of other proposals. In this talk, we will survey several recent developments pertaining to the separability problem, including: (1) structural properties of interdependent preferences; (2) the impact of separability on election outcomes; (3) causes and models of nonseparability; and (4) the potential of iterative voting to solve the separability problem. This talk should be accessible to most undergraduates; in fact, most of the results in it were discovered and/or proved by undergraduates!