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Phragmén’s voting methods and justified representation

Brill, Markus; Freeman, Rupert; Janson, Svante; Lackner, Martin; Katharina (Contributor)

In the late 19th century, Swedish mathematician Edvard Phragmén proposed a load-balancing approach for selecting committees based on approval ballots. We consider three committee voting rules resulting from this approach: two optimization variants—one minimizing the maximum load and one minimizing the variance of loads—and a sequential variant. We study Phragmén ’s methods from an axiomatic point of view, focusing on properties capturing proportional representation. We show that the sequential variant satisfies proportional justified representation, which is a rare property for committee monotonic methods. Moreover, we show that the optimization variants satisfy perfect representation. We also analyze the computational complexity of Phragmén ’s methods and provide mixed-integer programming based algorithms for computing them.
Published in: Mathematical Programming, 10.1007/s10107-023-01926-8, Springer Nature