# A Parameterized Perspective on Protecting Elections

# A Parameterized Perspective on Protecting Elections

## Palash Dey, Neeldhara Misra, Swaprava Nath, Garima Shakya

Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Main track. Pages 238-244.
https://doi.org/10.24963/ijcai.2019/34

We study the parameterized complexity of the optimal defense and optimal attack problems in voting. In both the problems, the input is a set of voter groups (every voter group is a set of votes) and two integers k_a and k_d corresponding to respectively the number of voter groups the attacker can attack and the number of voter groups the defender can defend. A voter group gets removed from the election if it is attacked but not defended. In the optimal defense problem, we want to know if it is possible for the defender to commit to a strategy of defending at most k_d voter groups such that, no matter which k_a voter groups the attacker attacks, the out-come of the election does not change. In the optimal attack problem, we want to know if it is possible for the attacker to commit to a strategy of attacking k_a voter groups such that, no matter which k_d voter groups the defender defends, the outcome of the election is always different from the original (without any attack) one. We show that both the optimal defense problem and the optimal attack problem are computationally intractable for every scoring rule and the Condorcet voting rule even when we have only3candidates. We also show that the optimal defense problem for every scoring rule and the Condorcet voting rule is W[2]-hard for both the parameters k_a and k_d, while it admits a fixed parameter tractable algorithm parameterized by the combined parameter (ka, kd). The optimal attack problem for every scoring rule and the Condorcet voting rule turns out to be much harder – it is W[1]-hard even for the combined parameter (ka, kd). We propose two greedy algorithms for the OPTIMAL DEFENSE problem and empirically show that they perform effectively on reasonable voting profiles.

Keywords:

Agent-based and Multi-agent Systems: Computational Social Choice

Agent-based and Multi-agent Systems: Voting

Agent-based and Multi-agent Systems: Algorithmic Game Theory