Voting theory makes an appearance in papal politics

As usual, my energy for posting to social media waxes and wanes.  The last six months have been extremely strained in terms of having any leftover energy to do anything other than throw occasional links up on Twitter or Facebook. With three (long overdue) papers set to be submitted in the next two weeks, I feel like I finally have a moment to come up for air.

With that out of the way, I’ll proceed to sharing the most recent example of math in the news!

Apparently the election of Pope Benedict several years came as a result of a move from a supermajority to simple majority voting requirement a decade earlier.  According to this article over at Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, whether intentionally prescient or not, helped the cardinals avoid a voting paradox that may have paralyzed that election.  Interestingly, Benedict has moved the bar for papal election back to a two-thirds supermajority and the three basic constituencies of the Catholic Church may have to reach an unprecedented compromise in order to move forward.

The political science of papal elections” by Dylan Mathews.

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