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Computer Science Department

A Visualized Tool For Comparative Study of Plurality-Majority Electoral Systems

Yi Li

In this semester long project, I will be designing and implementing
a java software that visualizes the collected data of presidential
elections in the United States and France to compare two different
types of plurality-majority electoral systems. While both countries
use First Past the Post (FPTP) systems, the American system conducts
elections in a single round, but the French system requires two
rounds of voting if there's no absolute majority winner in the first
round. The problem of single round election became a heated topic
when George W. Bush won his first term with less popular votes to
his opponent, Al Gore (47.9% vs. 48.4%). If we use this data and
apply with the French system, although the two candidates would be
sure to be singled out as second round candidates, who would win
the election will heavily depend on the swing voters who voted for
the third party in the first round. In fact, in the recent six
American presidential elections, there appeared three times that
candidates were elected to the office without winning the absolute
majority of popular votes. The aim of this project is to provide a
convenient tool for entry-level American Politics class to study
how American electoral systems work so differently compared to other
plurality systems. Although this project will only compare the
American system to the French system, the functions of the program
will leave room for further integration of other electoral systems
for future studies.