Re: What is Data Model FOR?

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 00:48:44 CDT

dr-jekyll@att.net wrote:
|Does "vote aggregation" mean vote totals? The Data Model I submitted
|does have a place for accumulating vote totals.

Aggregation is likely to involve move than a simple counter. Maybe the
counter suffices for a first pass, on some kinds of races. But
consider, for example either N of M or ranked-preference contests. The
tallying of rank orders involves more than just counting the votes; for
example, in IRV, it would go through stages with reassignments of votes
and recounts.

It -might- be important to the aggregation to create totals by districts
of various sorts. Elections might not be by simple vote count, but
rather by weights assigned to subsets of the electorate. The US
Electoral College is an example of this at a national level, but I
understand that some cities handle council elections according to
similar indirect rules.

Or again, there might be threshhold considerations rather than raw
totals. And so on.

Aggregation includes all these concepts, as the word suggests. Anything
that takes the raw votes, and puts them together into an overall
meaning, according to whatever formulas are appropriate for a
jurisdiction.

|Regarding Data Models, they are not just for relational databases. A
|Data Model is a documented description of the data requirements of a
|system, even a 3x5 card system.

I still don't really know what the Data Model is *for*, other than
noting some interesting facts about elections. I was never a fond of
contrived formalisms though, so I'm sure someone takes this style as
somehow necessary.

But I still recommend applying your thinking to something concretely
useful: i.e. the XML DTD/Schema for election data (what is now
ballot-election.xml). I would leave the aggregation data issues
separate from those of election configuration--the issues are
sufficiently different. For example, we need to be able to indicate
that a contest in ranked-preference to present ballots; but we don't
need worry at that level about the particular tallying algorithm used
(IRV, Condercet, Burda, hybrid, etc). If you like you can think of this
as two data models:

    Election Configuration
    Election Aggregation

Yours, David...

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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:21 2004

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