Monthly Archives: January 2018

The math of lots and the Greek Fates

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The drawing of lots, used to determine the outcome of the tied Virginia House of Delegates election noted in a previous post, has a long tradition in western culture, including the two dominant strains represented by the Judeo-Christian Bible and Greek mythology. Mathematically, the drawing of lots is a random number generator modeling a uniform probability distribution.  In this case, like… Read more »

Yes, Virginia, we still draw lots

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The November 2017 Virginia House of Delegates election between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican David Yancey famously ended in a tie after a disputed recount. The race was especially critical because the party in control of the legislature was dependent on this one election. [1] But what does the basic probability of random error tell us about the outcome of… Read more »

Introduction to this blog

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A Virginia House of Delegates election held in November 2017, between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican David Yancey, is the perfect example of the type of news story I will be expounding upon and expanding upon in this blog. This election ended close enough for a recount. The recount first declared Simonds the winner by one vote, and then a… Read more »