The men who weren't even there: Legislative voting with absentees
Voting power in voting situations is measured by the probability of changing decisions by altering the cast `yes' or `no' votes. Recently this analysis has been extended by strategic abstention. Abstention, just as `yes' or `no' votes can change decisions. This theory is often applied to weighted voting situations, where voters can cast multiple votes. Measuring the power of a party in a national assembly seems to fit this model, but in fact its power comprises of votes of individual representatives each having a single vote. These representatives may vote yes or no, or may abstain, but in some cases they are not even there to vote. We look at absentees not due to a conscious decision, but due to illness, for instance. Formally voters will be absent, say, ill, with a certain probability and only present otherwise. As in general not all voters will be present, a thin majority may quickly melt away making a coalition that is winning in theory a losing one in practice. A simple model allows us to differentiate between winning and more winning and losing and less losing coalitions reflected by a voting game that is not any more simple. We use data from Scotland, Hungary and a number of other countries both to illustrate the relation of theoretical and effective power and show our results working in the practice.
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