We’ve invited backofthebook.ca’s chief bloggers to let us know how they plan to vote in the federal election, and why. Below, Eric Pettifor reports in from Vancouver.
If we used the Australian system of preferential voting, I would vote on Tuesday as follows:
- Satan and his Minions Party
Note: #4 assumes the ability to do write-ins. I don’t think Satan is directly running a candidate in my riding.
Under this system, if no candidate got the majority of the votes, the party getting the least votes would be eliminated from consideration, and the second choice of those who had voted for them would be counted. If there was still no majority, the party now with the lowest number of votes would be eliminated, and so on until one party had a clear majority.
So let’s say I was in a riding where polls indicated the following support:
- Conservatives: 33%
- Liberals: 32%
- NDP: 25%
- Green: 10%
And let’s say actual voting is as polls predicted. In the first round, no one has a majority, so the Greens are eliminated. This can get complicated, so for the sake of simplicity, let’s say all Greens have NDP as their second choice. Second round then, the NDP has 35%, still no majority. Again for simplicity’s sake, Liberals are the universal 3rd choice of Greens and 2nd choice of NDPers. Now the Liberals have 67%, a clear majority, they take the seat.
But under our current system, it is enough to simply get the most votes, no majority required. It is possible to win the seat of a riding where the majority of residents hate your guts. There is something seriously wrong here.
If I was in a riding where the polls showed support as indicated above, I would vote Liberal. Note that this is not even my second choice. But given that I would rather see the Lord of Darkness as Prime Minister than Stephen Harper, I would have to vote strategically for the party with the best chance of beating the Conservatives, and in our example scenario, that would be the Liberals.
As it turns out, in my riding we’re not really having an election on Tuesday, we’re having a “Give Libby Davies the thumbs up” day instead. It’s a terrible waste of tax payer dollars to have an election here, since this is her riding. I don’t mean “her riding” as in “she is the current MP,” but rather that she owns it, this is hers, it is such an NDP safe seat that one really wonders why the other candidates even bother. Liberal candidate Ken Low has put a huge amount of effort into getting people to put up lawn signs and it’s so sad because you know half of them are just sympathy signs — “Honey, let him put up a sign. We know how we’re voting, but he seems such a nice, clean cut young man, and this would just make his day.”
So I can vote for whoever I want on Tuesday, it doesn’t really matter who since the outcome is such a forgone conclusion one imagines it was foreordained in the plan of some creator god before the world was made. Elizabeth May seems a pleasant, articulate woman with a lot of good ideas, so I think I’ll throw her party a sympathy vote. I know if the Greens came in second in this riding, it would just make her day.
– Eric Pettifor