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Thursday, February 15
PS1 Poster Session 1 and Opening Mixer Thu, Feb 15, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Salons F-I

Ranked-Choice Voting R Package (303684)

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*Jay Lee, Reed College 
Matthew Yancheff, Reed College 

Keywords: r package, r, voting, elections, politics, political science, visualization, sankey

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is an alternative to plurality voting (or first-past-the-post), the method used for most American elections. Arguments in favor of this system is that it guarantees majorities and assists 3rd parties, while arguments against include complexity and cost, as much of the existing software to count RCV ballots is proprietary or requires inflexible input. As an extension of a Spring 2017 class in data science and elections with Profs. Paul Gronke and Andrew Bray, we produced an R package with functions to input, process, count, and visualize multiple forms of RCV ballots used for local elections. This package is open-source, and the functions are written to be understandable and applicable to varying ballot types, addressing these two arguments against RCV. While much of the package is an open-source version of processes already in use, we believe the visualization paradigm we use (Sankey diagrams) is a new and easily-accessible way of understanding the RCV process. This package is designed to be used by amateur statisticians/data scientists, political scientists and researchers in RCV, and even organizations wishing to conduct RCV elections of their own.