A mathematical look at democracy.

Are these methods fair?

Unfortunately the answer is no, not perfectly. Find out more here.

How does the voting system for the European Parliament elections work?

How should the seats in the European Parliament be allocated?

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, we bet you didn't think he was good at game theory.

Should we let go of the "one person, one vote" principle?

Forecasting election results is a sophisticated business.

Why a perfect voting system is mathematically impossible.

Is there a perfect voting system? In the 1950s the economist Kenneth Arrow asked himself this question and found that the answer is no, at least in the setting he imagined.

With the day of the referendum on the UK voting system drawing nearer, Tony Crilly uses a toy example to compare the first past the post, AV and Condorcet voting systems, and revisits a famous mathematical theorem which shows that there is nothing obvious about voting.

When you try to put democracy into action you quickly run into tricky maths problems. This is what happened to Andrew Duff, rapporteur for the European Constitutional Affairs Committee, who was charged with finding a fair way of allocating seats of the European Parliament to Member States. Wisely, he went to ask the experts: last year he approached mathematicians at the University of Cambridge to help come up with a solution. A committee of mathematicians from all over Europe was promptly formed and today it has published its recommendation.

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.