26 September 2008

On Strategic Voting - Response to JimBobby

Over at JimBobby Sez, the man has given me pause for thought and I'm so glad he did.

Perhaps all of us who have been thinking of voting strategically for the first time should think again and read his passionate reminder: about why we've never voted strategically before, about why we didn't and that those reasons haven't changed just because we're facing another Harper government, about the feeling you get when you vote for the lesser of two evils, about ....

Here's an excerpt from JB's post.
It may take a strong dose of un-democracy to convince enough Canadians that we have a broken system in need of reform. So be it. When we engage in schemes and vote trading and candidate trading and all sorts of strategies to play the game by the unfair rules, we only perpetuate acceptance.

"I voted strategically once... I felt slightly nauseous afterward and the experience still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Hmm. Well you've given me something to think about, JB. Because I've never done it and have always voted according to the candidate whose party best matched my principles and values. Even thinking of voting strategically makes me feel ill and brings a writhing sense of self-loathing.

Until this election, I never entertained the idea of voting strategically and, as you, thought that only some real tough medicine in the form of an ultra-right Canada led by Harper or the like, would - maybe, just maybe - get Canadians to rethink their voting system.

This election more than most, I've been working hard as a volunteer with Fair Vote Canada and had already signed up with the FVC-BC group to support the coming STV referendum in BC.

I continue to believe that democratic and electoral reform are THE issues for all elections now and into the future - until the change to proportional representation gets done. That is, the first legislation passed by any party forming government should be to begin the process of electoral change.

Because only then, when we have proportional representation, will the majority of Canadians have a reasonable chance of seeing get addressed the major issues which concern them.

People should read JB's entire post. He offers many arguments, including ones which suggest that strategic voting will fail anyway. Not enough people will do it - they'll either vote for their party of choice, destroy or refuse their ballots, or simply stay home.

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