Beyond IQ

Election Math

Register for Election Math here

Return to the list of Current Courses.

Instructor: Lisa Fontaine-Rainen
5-12 students
Suggested Age Range: 
Meets: Thursdays, 1:00-2:00pm Eastern for 15 sessions, Starting Aug.27th


What does math have to do with politics?  Okay, I mean, theres the obvious – votes have to be counted.  But what if we voted differently?  What if we ranked our choices?  And how many people do elected representatives actually represent anyway?  Is it fair?  Should it be?  How do congressional districts get drawn anyway? And how do those votes in Congress or Parliament or whatever representative system work anyway?  How should they work?  Do parties matter?  What does the Supreme Court have to do with any of this anyway?  What about international organizations like NATO?  Do they represent me?  If we change a system’s math, what are the political implications?  Wait, what does it mean to win an election anyway?  Are all of our elections about representative democracy, or do we have any direct democracy left?  Who made these decisions about our voting anyway, and why?

Got any other questions?  We can add them to the mix.  This  class will examine election math – how do we choose those meant to lead and represent our interests?  What math has affected that choice before we even make it?  What mathematical issues lie at the heart of social choice?  We’ll explore voting theory, apportionment, redistricting, polling, and other intersections of mathematics, politics, and decision making.  The focus will e on US systems, but specific focus will be given to each student’s lived experience as well, and we will examine international systems.  Cross systems comparisons – such as Congress vs Parliament, will also be made.  A culminating action project, such as a letter to a representative or a proposal for a new system, will be shared on the final day of class. 

Classes will be held weekly on Zoom.  Access to spreadsheet software (even Google sheets) is necessary, with a preference for Excel.    Some light homework will be important as homework will set up the mathematical issues to be discussed in class.

Day 1 – introduction to Election Math

Day 2 – Apportionment and representative democracy, cross cultural comparisons

Day 3 – Apportionment methods 1 – historical lens

Day 4 – Apportionment methods 2, Electoral College, the 2016 presidential election analysis

Day 5 – District drawing and gerrymandering, an examination of the problems

Day 6 – Redistricting using mathematics to address gerrymandering

Day 7 -Introduction to ranked ballots

Day 8– Ranked ballot analysis 1

Day 9 – Ranked ballot analysis 2, Approval method of voting

Day 10 – Cross cultural analysis – party systems,  government design, and voting, international systems

Day 11 –Voter turnout issues and democracy

Day 12 – Local politics and local elections

Day 13 – The court system and voting

Day 14 – Polling issues

Day 15 – Sharing of action projects

Class will not meet on US Thanksgiving, November 26.

Register for Election Math here!

Copyright ©2020 Gifted Conference Planners, All rights reserved.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software