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Approximation Algorithms and Mechanism Design for Minimax Approval Voting

Last modified: 2010-07-04

#### Abstract

We consider approval voting elections in which each voter votes for a (possibly empty) set of candidates and the outcome consists of a set of

*k*candidates for some parameter*k,*e.g., committee elections. We are interested in the minimax approval voting rule in which the outcome represents a compromise among the voters, in the sense that the maximum distance between the preference of any voter and the outcome is as small as possible. This voting rule has two main drawbacks. First, computing an outcome that minimizes the maximum distance is computationally hard. Furthermore, any algorithm that always returns such an outcome provides incentives to voters to misreport their true preferences. In order to circumvent these drawbacks, we consider approximation algorithms, i.e., algorithms that produce an outcome that approximates the minimax distance for any given instance. Such algorithms can be considered as alternative voting rules. We present a polynomial-time 2-approximation algorithm that uses a natural linear programming relaxation for the underlying optimization problem and deterministically rounds the fractional solution in order to compute the outcome; this result improves upon the previously best known algorithm that has an approximation ratio of 3. We are furthermore interested in approximation algorithms that are resistant to manipulation by (coalitions of) voters, i.e., algorithms that do not motivate voters to misreport their true preferences in order to improve their distance from the outcome. We complement previous results in the literature with new upper and lower bounds on strategyproof and group-strategyproof algorithms.
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