Decision Canada 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Layton and strategic voting - a better solution!

NDP leader Jack Layton is trying to shore up support by discouraging possible NDP voters from voting Liberal to prevent a conservative victory. Nobody knows what effect this may have on the overall NDP number of seats but if Layton wants a move central government, strategic voting might be his only option, trading NDP seats for Liberals might suit his agenda more than NDP seats under a Conservative government. Sadly, strategic voting is almost essential under our current voting system of first past the post.

Until we change our voting system to something closer to proportional representation - BC STV (wikipedia link) is one model that was looked at extensively in British Columbia and was passed by the majority of voters but failed to reach the supermajority required to pass by less than 1%.

Under such a system, voters could vote for their first choice candidate, say the NDP candidate. STV creates a threshold of votes required to be elected, unless enough people vote for the candidate on their first try, they won't get in.

Our hypothetical voter could vote NDP but with the Liberal as their second choice. Strategic voting would be non-existent because the voter could choose their second best candidate and still have that candidate elected. If the non-desired candidate didn't pass the threshold, the 2nd choice votes from the NDP voter would go to the Liberal and possibly the Liberal would be elected.

Of course, electoral reform is something most politicians will sway away from because it gives more power to the individual voter and less from them. It's just food for thought at the moment, but if enough Canadians raise a fuss, it could become a reality.

BC-STV or some incarnation of it is on the ballot in the next BC Provincial election, if it is passed we might see an effort federally.


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