The Shield that Never Was: Societies with Single-Peaked Preferences are More Open to Manipulation and Control
(Submitted on 17 Sep 2009 (v1), last revised 19 Jun 2010 (this version, v2))
Much work has been devoted, during the past twenty years, to using complexity to protect elections from manipulation and control. Many results have been obtained showing NP-hardness shields, and recently there has been much focus on whether such worst-case hardness protections can be bypassed by frequently correct heuristics or by approximations. This paper takes a very different approach: We argue that when electorates follow the canonical political science model of societal preferences the complexity shield never existed in the first place. In particular, we show that for electorates having single-peaked preferences, many existing NP-hardness results on manipulation and control evaporate.