Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=997888
 
 

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Seeing Double Voting: An Extension of the Birthday Problem


Michael P. McDonald


George Mason University - Government and Politics; Brookings Institution

Justin Levitt


Loyola Law School Los Angeles

July 1, 2007

7 Election L. J. 111 (2008)
2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
Introductory statistics classes are commonly presented with the Birthday Problem: the surprisingly high probability that two students in the class share the same birthday. Here, we review and extend the Birthday Problem to find the probability that two persons in a given group share an exact birthdate and in a related calculation, the expected number of matching birthdates in a group of a certain size. These thorny calculations are simplified in a simulation framework. We then apply the Birthdate Problem to a pressing legal and public policy debate concerning allegations of widespread double voting and/or multiple registration. We show that these allegations are inflated by not appropriately accounting for the Birthdate Problem, and discuss the implications of the Birthdate Problem for the debate over double voting and the means to address this perceived fraud.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: birthday problem, matching, fraud, voter fraud, double voting, birthday, name

JEL Classification: C00, C15, C13, K00, K10, K39

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Date posted: July 3, 2007 ; Last revised: March 26, 2013

Suggested Citation

McDonald, Michael P. and Levitt, Justin, Seeing Double Voting: An Extension of the Birthday Problem (July 1, 2007). 7 Election L. J. 111 (2008); 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=997888 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.997888

Contact Information

Michael P. McDonald
George Mason University - Government and Politics ( email )
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
Justin Levitt (Contact Author)
Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-7417 (Phone)
213-380-3769 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.lls.edu

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