Fair Voting BC has long opposed the vote-splitting problems created by our Single Member Plurality (First-Past-the-Post) voting system. All too frequently, voters are forced to choose between voting for the candidate they most support, but who they feel has relatively little chance of being elected, and another candidate who they like less, but who has a better chance to beat a candidate the voter truly dislikes. If the voter decides to vote for a less-liked candidate to defeat their least-liked candidate, we say they are voting strategically.
FVBC does not explicitly endorse strategic voting, but we recognize that for many individuals it is a perfectly rational response to the flaws of SMP. With that in mind, we would like to give you a list of websites you might find useful in your quest to make your vote count as much as possible:
Websites Presenting Computer Models Predicting Riding-Level Outcomes
These sites are non-partisan in their orientation and useful for all voters. The details of the prediction methods vary, but all are explicitly described, so the reader can make their own judgements about their reliability.
- Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy – An academic website presenting results of their “regional swing model” predictor.
- Three Hundred Eight – An excellent seat estimator for the 308 seats in the House of Commons. Has a helpful chart showing the current estimates of their model on a riding-by-riding basis.
- DemocraticSpace – Another excellent seat estimator. Has downloadable PDF files predicting outcomes on a riding-by-riding basis.
Websites Describing Strategic Voting and Offering Specific Advice on How to Do It
Warning: The following sites are all explicitly anti-Conservative and target Liberal, NDP and Green supporters seeking to prevent a Conservative win or majority. FVBC is non-partisan and so does not endorse strategic voting targeting a specific party.
- Pair Vote – Offers to match voters in different ridings who can’t cast an honest vote in their own riding without it being rendered useless by our SMP system. Although it is explicitly anti-Conservative, we believe they would honour requests to swap votes on behalf of Conservatives who live in ridings where their vote would not help their local candidate.
- Project Democracy – A new website in this election, it appears to have emerged from the voteforenvironment.ca website in the 2008 election. Has an explicitly anti-Conservative stance, offering advice on a riding-by-riding basis about who to vote for to prevent a Conservative majority.
- Catch 22 – Also an explicitly anti-Conservative site offering advice about how to vote locally to prevent a Conservative majority.
- Swing 33 – Refers to the number of seats needed in 2008 to have swung the election from a Conservative to a Liberal minority government. In addition to providing strategic voting advice, this site also suggests the idea of strategic donations – ie, contributing in close races to prevent a Conservative from winning
- Avaaz – Presents a different interface to the estimates provided by Project Democracy
The following article is generally neutral, but the publication itself is left-leaning:
- The Tyee – Presented a guide to the guides for strategic voting, including references to some academic papers on the subject
Critiques of Strategic Voting
- For an interesting perspective on the potential downsides of strategic voting, check out this CBC story by Professor and former NDP candidate Michael Byers or the Pundits’ Guide to Canadian Federal Elections which has an article entitled “Why the Conservatives Love the “Strategic” Voting Sites“. If you’re going to engage in strategic voting, you should do so with your eyes open!
- Also see Amy Minsky in the National Post arguing that there’s little evidence strategic voting works.
- Lead Now – a youth-oriented voter-engagement website. They led a public participatory process aimed at identifying top priorities for whichever new government forms.
- CBC Vote Compass – this site asks you to answer several policy questions and rate their relative importance to you and produces a map showing where you lie relative to the positions of the various national parties. Close to 2 million voters have used this tool during this election.