Strategic voting sites were all the rage this election. Websites like Project Democracy used advanced seat projection models and the latest polls to determine what ridings would be close and how progressive voters should ‘strategically vote’ to stop the Conservatives.
What an utter failure (or ‘hashtagfail’ as my buddy Jack would say). Pundits Guide warned us that Conservatives love strategic voting sites, but few people listened. The promise of having your vote count in a system where so many votes are wasted was too strong to resist.
If you look at the closest races in Canada involving the Conservatives, all of them decided by less 2% of the votes cast, the ‘strategic’ recommendations were horrible. In the 10 races where strategic voting could have been effective, Project Democracy got 5 of them wrong, and the Conservatives won all five of those ridings.
|Montmagny – L’Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup||Cons
|Nipissing – Timiskaming||Cons +14 over Libs||Vote Liberal||PASS|
|Etobicoke Centre||Cons +25 over Libs||Safe Liberal Seat – Vote Anyone||FAIL|
|Yukon||Cons +132 over Libs||Vote Liberal||PASS|
|Elmwood Transcona||Cons +284 over NDP||Safe NDP Seat – Vote Anyone||FAIL|
|Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca||NDP +406 over Cons||Vote NDP||PASS|
|Bramalea – Gore – Malton||Cons +538 over NDP||Vote Liberal||FAIL|
|Don Valley West||Cons +639 over Libs||Vote Liberal||PASS|
|Mississauga East – Cooksville||Cons +661 over Libs||Safe Liberal Seat – Vote Anyone||FAIL|
|Lotbinière – Chutes-de-la-Chaudière||Cons +777 over NDP||Vote NDP||PASS|
1 – vote difference in Montmagny reduced to 10 after counting error detected.
Unfortunately, in a first-past-the-post voting system, only 2 parties can be viable alternatives. Strategic voting is a failed coping mechanism. We need to either change the voting system or get ready for polarized American-style politics with the Conservatives battling the NDP across Canada. Even as an NDP supporter, it’s not a prospect I’m looking forward to. I’d rather have more choices.