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Free Video Lecture: Voting: Determining the Will of the People

Taught by Professor Scott P. Stevens James Madison University Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University

Download this Video (requires Quicktime)

Voting has always been the hallmark of our democratic process. And on November 4, Americans will once again cast their ballots for whom they think should be the next president of the United States. Throughout most of our nation's history, we've voted using a system based on the plurality model: everyone casts one vote, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Despite the success of this model, it can become problematic when more than two candidates or issues are on the table. But there are other alternative voting models available—each with its own advantages and disadvantages—including

  • the Condorcet method, in which a candidate has to win a head-to-head vote against every alternative in order to become the winner;
  • the Borda count, in which voters rank the candidates from best to worst; and
  • instant run-off elections, in which candidates participate in a series of run-off elections, with one candidate eliminated after each round.

Exploring these and other voting models reveals startling insights into the science behind how the voting process works.

In Voting: Determining the Will of the People, you investigate

  • how these unique models can affect the outcome of an election;
  • why these models provide us with different results; and
  • the optimal conditions for a strong voting system.

Watch this free video lecture to discover some other fascinating ways we can vote people into public office.

Voting: Determining the Will of the People is delivered by widely published scholar, consultant, and award-winning Professor Scott P. Stevens. Professor Stevens is Professor of Computer Information Systems and Management Science at James Madison University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. Deeply committed to teaching excellence, Professor Stevens has received JMU's Carl Harter Award—the university's highest teaching award—and was named Outstanding Teacher on five separate occasions by the university's undergraduate business students.

Feel free to send the link to this free video lecture to family or friends who might enjoy it; the lecture is free for them as well!

Paul Suijk
The Teaching Company

P.S. Explore the courses on the right to learn more about both our nation's history and the fundamentals of statistics, probability, and argumentation.

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