Mathematical Recreations; July 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Stewart; 2 Page(s)
The National Assembly of Blockvotia had just counted the votes for the Palmgreasing Slushfund Bill, and President Freebie Perks was not pleased. His secretary, Penelope, was doing her best to calm him down.
Penny, you told me that four of the six districts were in favor, including the biggest. How did we lose? "It's the weighted voting system, sir. Each district has assigned to it some number of votes that is roughly proportional to its population. Here's a table showing the details. The total number of votes is 31, so any coalition that has 16 votes, or one more than half of that total, can decide the outcome.