Voting Strategically Against Strategic Voting

Source: The New York Times, March 30

After an Upshot article about strategic voting – “You Say You Loathe Ted Cruz? You Still Might Want to Vote for Him” – one reader had a question: “How about the idea of being honest with your vote? Isn’t this strategy another form of telling a lie?”

Perhaps Canada can offer neighborly advice, after recently living through a national debate over the ethics of voting for someone other than your first choice, as a means to an end.

An article in The National Post set the scene last October: “As a Canada obsessed with strategic voting prepared to go to the polls, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May appeared on television to plead with voters to stop: ‘That’s slaughtering us; it’s disastrous. In a democracy, you should cast your ballot for what you want.’”

The Green Party did in fact do poorly, and Justin Trudeau seemed to benefit. There was less of the vote-splitting from left-leaning parties (like the Green Party) that had helped the Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, in the 2011 election.

One Canadian blogger, looking ahead to promised reforms to eliminate such tactics, wrote a post titled, “I’m Voting Strategically Because I Hate Strategic Voting.”

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2 responses to “Voting Strategically Against Strategic Voting

  1. Michael Gundy

    With a first past the post system, strategic voting must be part of a citizen’s thought process. We have no other meaningful choice.

  2. mike holliday

    What sort of voting system are we talking about? Australia has preferential voting and that has caused some problems with strategic voting, but in `first past the post’ voting for the person you don’t want to represent you sounds stupid not strategic.