About a quarter of Americans report believing that double voting is a relatively common occurrence, casting doubt on the integrity of elections. But, despite a dearth of documented instances of double voting, it’s hard to know how often such fraud really occurs (people might just be good at covering it up!). I’ll describe a simple statistical trick to estimate the rate of double voting -- one that builds off the classic birthday paradox -- and show that such behavior is exceedingly rare. I’ll further argue that current efforts to prevent double voting can in fact disenfranchise many legitimate voters.

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About the Speaker

Sharad Goel is an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Department of Management Science & Engineering, with courtesy appointments in Computer Science, Sociology, and the Law School. He's the founder and director of the Stanford Computational Policy Lab, a group that develops technology to tackle pressing issues in criminal justice, education, voting rights, and beyond. In his research, Sharad looks at public policy through the lens of computer science, bringing a new, computational perspective to a diverse range of contemporary social issues, including policing practices, electoral integrity, online privacy, and media bias. Before joining the Stanford faculty, Sharad completed a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cornell University, and worked as a senior researcher at Microsoft.

Sharad Goel, Stanford University

Lecture Video