September 14, 2020

Statistics and Philosophy of Voting

STAT 498 / CSSS 594

  • Credits: 3
  • Time: Tuesday and Thursday 3:00-3:50pm
  • Format: Online/remote

This course will consider a number of topics that are relevant to modern voting and elections through statistical and social choice lenses. The course will be co-taught byElena Erosheva (Statistics and Social Work), Conor Mayo-Wilson (Philosophy), andMarina Meila (Statistics), and will also feature a number of expert guest speakers.

Topics include the purpose and limits of democratic decision-making; majority rule, social choice theory and the associated impossibility theorems; judgement aggregation; probabilistic pooling; majority judgement and other voting procedures; election case studies; election polling and forecasting; misinformation and elections; electoral redistricting and gerrymandering; fairness aspects in voting, voting in contexts other than elections. Topics before and around November 3 will be chosen to be directly related to the 2020 US election. See this link for more information.

Course assessments will include participation in class and in discussion boards and hands-on homework assignments that will involve analyzing real or simulated data. Final grades will be based on participation (40% for undergraduate and 20% for graduate students), homework (60% for undergraduate and 40% for graduate students) and final paper (40%) for graduate students.


  • STAT 498 STAT 311 or STAT 390 or STAT 391 or CSE 312  section for UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
  • CSSS 594 Graduate-level introductory sequence in applied statistics such as SOC 504-505-506 or equivalent section for GRADUATE STUDENTS
  • For both STAT 498/CSSS 594 It is recommended that students have some familiarity with reading and writing proofs and have beginner ability with data programming.