Bob Jonkman's thoughts on politics

Why Strategic Voting Is Wrong

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 2nd May 2011

Strategic voting is not at all strategic. It is insincere voting. It is tactical negative voting. It is wrong.

I just read Laurel L. Russwurm’s blog post listing some of the things wrong with strategic voting. It comes hot on the heels of a discussion I had on the CAPP mailing list:

If I want, for example, a Green government I’ll never get it by voting for the Liberals, no matter how much I dislike the Conservatives.


And now that the NDP is presenting a formidable opposition, perhaps a vote for the Liberals tomorrow is as much wasted as a vote for the NDP was last week.


Have a read through the Politics Cafe article The Perils Of Strategic Voting. An excerpt:

According to political scientist Bruce Hicks, about three percent of Canadians vote strategically, with that number rising as high to as 12 percent in elections when voters are united in opposing a specific party.

Only 12%? And that 12% strategic vote is divided between Conservatives voting NDP to keep the Liberals out, NDPs voting Liberals to keep the Conservatives out, and Liberals voting Conservative just to give them a majority and put an end to these unnecessary elections[*].


Strategic voting isn’t very strategic at all. It is a vote for a government you don’t want.




[*] I’m putting those words into their mouths. This is one of the most necessary elections we’ve needed in the last 20 years.

And Sam Nabi answered:

Well put, Bob. Strategic voting is more than just voting for a government you don’t want – it makes a farce of democracy. Elections aren’t about choosing the lesser evil – they’re about making a claim about what kind of country you want to live in.


Tomorrow, we should all vote with our hearts, for the candidate we want to represent us (even if that means voting for no candidate at all). We should not vote as a knee-jerk reaction to what pollsters say.


– Sam

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