Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Strategic voting

Some people are still considering how they should vote, and the question for many goes deeper than "Who do I want as my MP?" As well it should, for the sophisticated voter (and you are one, else why are you here reading this instead of, say, not?)

Every party seems to be simultaniously making arguments in favour and against strategic voting. That is, they're offering arguments in favour of casting a strategic vote for, alongside arguments opposed to casting a strategic vote elsewhere. Let me try to offer a guide, from my position sitting in a riding where calculating a strategic vote is akin to calculating the precise number of car flags you need to fly to help your team win a chanpionship.

1) Know your riding. If you're in a riding like mine, with your next MP being a foregone conclusion, vote for your favourite party without worry. You aren't going to influence the result.

(Vote anyway! I can't stress this enough. The result in toto may be the same, but if you don't register your voice in what is essentially a referendum on the leading candidate, that candidate won't have any sense that s/he should act boldly/be careful in pursuit of his/her agenda. And the party you vote for, the winning or losing party in the riding, will have no idea what sort of resources to invest in that riding the next time around. Presumably, you want your party to spend its money efficiently, don't you?)

If you're in a contested riding, you need to figure out who it's contested between. This isn't a question of who is leading nationally or provincially. #1, #2. A vote for any other candidate cannot be described as a "strategic" vote.

2) Which of the two leading candidates, or parties those two represent, do you prefer?

That's it! Strategic voting made simple! Don't be fooled by the parties. If you are afraid of a so-con "hidden agenda", but your two leading candidates are a NDPer and a Liberal (yes, I know the Liberals have some so-con candidates. Another post, another time), stop worrying about beating the Tory, and make your choice for. On the other hand, if you have the same concern, but the local race is CPC v Party X, you need to decide if you can live with a vote for Party X or the local candidate thereof. The same calculation goes if you fear the NDP holding the balance of power, or you really want to see the Liberals punished and humiliated. And you don't even have to be voting "against" something to strategic vote... you can still narrow your riding to two candidates, and then choose your favourite.

First past the post, one MP per riding, is described as a problem by those who want to see Proportional Representation. But this is what we've got. Understand the system and use it.

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