BHSU Geek Speak lecture to analyze voting systems in relation to 2016 elections

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, April 7, 2016/Categories: 2016

Dr. Dan Swenson, associate professor of mathematics at Black Hills State University, will take a look at some different voting systems which are used around the world in the next Geek Speak lecture Thursday, March 31 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110 at BHSU.

With the 2016 presidential election just around the corner, the next Black Hills State University Geek Speak lecture will take a look at various voting systems used throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Dr. Dan Swenson, associate professor of mathematics at BHSU, will present "A Tour of Voting Systems: How Do We Choose a Winner?" Thursday, April 14 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110. The event is free and open to the public.

Swenson will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different voting systems setting the stage for an engaging discussion.

"With the 2016 elections coming up, we'll take a look at some different voting systems used around the world, including Plurality voting that is used in South Dakota, Instant Runoff Voting which is used in Minneapolis, and Borda Count," explains Swenson.

Swenson says the voter registration process is extremely different across the states in U.S. Often times, minorities are significantly disadvantaged.

"The goal of the presentation is to examine some of the voting systems that have been used around the world. The perfect voting system does not exist," says Swenson.

Swenson noted that the U.S. is a democratic country and its residents should be aware of different voting systems, evaluate them, and if the opportunity arises, change them.

"From the perspective of an observer this is a very interesting election. Many of the predictive tools used in the 2016 election do not seem to be working properly and should be re-evaluated," says Swenson.

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email

Future Geek Speak topics include:
  • April 21, "The Social Life of Meat," Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services
  • April 28, The University Honors Program Capstone Defense

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