Tag: strategic voting

Strategic Voting Doesn’t Work, Redux

Bob Jonkman votes

Vote for the candidate who will best represent you

I’m going to aim one last kick at the “Strategic Voting” can. Now that there is a feel for the relative strengths of the candidates in each riding, there are people who think they can manipulate the First-Past-The-Post system to influence the outcome of the election and oust the Conservatives.

“Strategic Voting” is not very strategic. It’s a negative tactic to defeat a particular candidate; it is an insincere vote that does not reflect the true beliefs of the voter. There are two possible scenarios: Those ridings where the Conservative candidate is weak, and those riding where the Conservative candidate is strong.

Kitchener-Conestoga has a popular Conservative candidate, who won the 2011 election with a true majority of the votes. FPTP is not a factor in this case. Even with a proportional voting system, a candidate with a majority of votes will be the winner. FPTP or not, all votes for the other candidates put together cannot defeat a majority of the votes. So, in Kitchener-Conestoga, tactical negative voting will not work. You can safely vote according to your principles, and know that it will not affect the outcome. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you.

In Kitchener Centre it’s a toss-up between the NDP and the Liberals. The Conservatives don’t hold popular support in that riding, so that casting your vote for either NDP or Liberals and choosing the wrong “strategic” side just means the vote will be split. This is exactly what Strategic Voting activists fear the most. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you — which I hope is Nicholas Wendler for the Green Party, but I encourage you to vote for your principles. Any other choice just means the best you can hope for is electing a government you don’t want, and at worst handing a victory to the candidate you hope to defeat.

The Waterloo riding is another close call. Contrary to what the polls suggest, when I’ve been canvassing for Richard Walsh most people tell me they are still undecided. “Strategic Voting” means you need to know how other people will vote so that you can cast a negative vote against them, but in a largely undecided riding there’s not enough data on which to base your decision. Voting the for the candidate who will best represent you is the only strategic choice.

The strategic voting group Vote Together isn’t as effective as they hope. At a forum they held a few weeks ago they claimed to have maybe 2,000 supporters. But the Kitchener Centre voting base is around 65,000 people, so they hold only a small fraction of the votes. Their polling has been limited to small samples, land-lines only, with the usual inaccuracies that incurs. The small sample is not representative of the riding, and those people who respond may not be telling the pollsters how they really feel. The polls themselves show incredible fluctuation from one week to the next, showing that many people are still changing their minds, and may vote differently on election day.

Vote Together’s methodology is to ask their supporters for the “strategic” decision, so their own poll results aren’t even being used to determine Vote Together’s endorsement. You’ll find that Vote Together is predominantly endorsing Liberal candidates. But in Guelph they are still advocating strategic voting to oust the Conservatives, yet the Guelph Conservative candidate is not even a contender there — it’s entirely a race between the Liberal and the Green candidate, Gord Miller. Strategic voting has no role to play there, but Vote Together is endorsing the NDP. Vote Together’s “strategy” really makes no sense.

So, vote for the candidate who will best represent you. It’s the only way to ensure you’ll get the government you want.

–Bob.

See other posts tagged “strategic voting”

A Strategic Vote Is A Wasted Vote

I VotedOn Facebook, Gary Dale comments Time for the Green Party supporters to vote strategically to change the game.

No, Gary, it’s time for Green supporters to vote for the candidate who will best represent them. Strategic voting doesn’t work — if it did we wouldn’t have a Conservative majority today. And even if it did, you’d only be electing a government that doesn’t represent your interests. A strategic vote that elects someone who doesn’t represent you is even more wasted than an FPTP vote that doesn’t elect anyone.

Vote. Vote for the candidate who will best represent your interests. I hope that’s a Green, but vote regardless.

–Bob.

Better than a sticker! by Sonya Green is used under a CC BY w2.0CC BY 2.0 license.

Who’s Really Splitting The Vote?

In 2011, there was close to 60% voter turnout, of whom about 7% voted Green.

That means only about 4.2% of eligible voters voted Green. Compare that to the 40% of eligible voters who didn’t vote at all, and it’s easy to see which group is really splitting the vote.

40% > 4.2%

If the other parties want to increase their vote share, they should pick from the low-hanging fruit.

Vote! Vote for the candidate who will best represent you. I hope that’s a Green, but vote regardless!

A Vote For The Green Party Is…

In a recent conversation on Twitter @Maark0_o debates @Raffi_RC about the merits of voting for the Green Party.

@maark0_o: @raffi_rc @elizabethmay A vote for the Green Party is a vote for Stephan Harper. That's a reality of our first-past-the-post system. @Raffi_RC: @Maark0_o @ElizabethMay i disagree. Greens attract new voters.

Twitter conversation

Of course, the Liberals will say a vote for the Greens is a vote for the Conservatives, the NDP say a vote for the Greens is a vote for the Liberals, and the Conservatives just pass legislation to suppress the vote.

A vote for the Green Party is not a vote for any other party. A vote for the Green Party shows that Canadians want their government to follow the philosophies of the Green Party: Transparent and Accountable, Respectful, Issue-based, Representative, and Cooperative.

A vote for the Green Party that doesn’t elect a Green MP shows the inequity of the First-Past-The-Post voting system. The Green Party will work to replace First-Past-The-Post with an electoral system that has Proportional Representation, so that all Canadians’ votes will count.

Vote. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you.

A vote for the Green Party is the only way to elect a Green Member of Parliament.

–Bob.

Strategic Voting Never Works

David Weber (@DavidWeberGreen), Green Party candidate for Kitchener South — Hespeler tweets:

Strategic voting has never got anyone what they want in any past election. Neither has vote swapping, or coordinated voting, or asking parties to remove their candidates from swing ridings. If any of these things worked, they would be endorsed by the parties themselves.

Strategic voting, also known as tactical voting or insincere voting, means that you vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the candidate you like least, instead of voting for the candidate who will best represent you. Strategic voting has never been shown to work in any election that I know of. If there is an election upset in a riding it is never attributed to strategic voting, but always to a “protest vote”.

Vote swapping is making a promise with someone in another riding that if they vote for the candidate of the party you like, you will vote for the candidate of the party they like. In theory, this means the popular vote for the parties stays the same. But Canada does not have proportional representation, so this does not work. It only ensures that you don’t vote for the candidate who will best represent you. And Canada has a secret ballot, so there’s no assurance that the other person will vote as promised, anyway.

Coordinated voting is like vote swapping on steroids. A large group of people in a riding disclose their party affiliation, then they all pledge to vote for the candidate of the most popular party in order to defeat the candidate they like least. Again, this won’t elect the candidate who will best represent you. And there’s still a secret ballot, so you’ll never know if the others in the group kept their promise.

And when one party “cooperates” with another party by not running a candidate in order to avoid splitting the vote, it just deprives the electorate of the choice to vote for that party. You’ll never be able to vote for the candidate who will best represent you if that candidate is not allowed to run. I’m not sure how you can possibly cast an effective vote in this case — move to a different riding? That’s a high price for democracy.

Everyone should vote for the candidate who will best represent them. That’s the way to get the government you want. Strategic voting is not.

–Bob.