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Library > On the Potential and Limitations of Proxy Voting: Delegation with Incomplete Votes

On the Potential and Limitations of Proxy Voting: Delegation with Incomplete Votes

May/2024, AAMAS '24


We study elections where voters are faced with the challenge of expressing preferences over an extreme number of issues under consideration. This is largely motivated by emerging blockchain governance systems, which include voters with different weights and a massive number of community generated proposals. In such scenarios, it is natural to expect that voters will have incomplete preferences, as they may only be able to evaluate or be confident about a very small proportion of the alternatives. As a result, the election outcome may be significantly affected, leading to suboptimal decisions. Our central inquiry revolves around whether delegation of ballots to proxies possessing greater expertise or a more comprehensive understanding of the voters' preferences can lead to outcomes with higher legitimacy and enhanced voters' satisfaction in elections where voters submit incomplete preferences. To explore its aspects, we introduce the following model: potential proxies advertise their ballots over multiple issues, and each voter either delegates to a seemingly attractive proxy or casts a ballot directly. We identify necessary and sufficient conditions that could lead to a socially better outcome by leveraging the participation of proxies. We accompany our theoretical findings with experiments on instances derived from real datasets. Overall, our results enhance the understanding of the power of delegation towards improving election outcomes.