Tactical Voting

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The reformation of Canada’s voting platform has been a topic of discussion for decades. However, the current majority liberal government has suggested that the 2015 election would be the last under the country’s current first-past-the-post format. Among the issues concerning the current format, it has been argued that the first-past-the-post system is susceptible to facilitating tactical voting. Additionally, under Canada’s current electoral system, large majority governments can be elected with less than fifty percent of the ballots cast, resulting primarily in ineffective government. The alternative vote system is definitely on the federal electoral reform table, largely a liberal proposition. The significant advantage of this system is that …show more content…
The notion of selecting the “lesser of two evils” is apparent in politics and can prompt citizens to vote strategically to prevent another candidate from winning (Ottawa123, 2016). Tactical voting played a large part in Canada’s 2015 election. An anti-Harper sentiment was clearly demonstrated amongst the left parties, urging voters to end the former prime minister 's ten-year reign. Regardless of whether the election outcome is beneficial for Canadians, this party pressure tactic is not justified, nor is it particularly democratic. The alternative vote platform reduces, if not eliminates, this mentality. Rather than voting against an unpreferable candidate, one has the option of ranking a prefered candidate. Therefore, the scope of tactical voting is greatly reduced. Moreover, the alternative vote, unlike first-past-the-post, allows every party to poll its full support everywhere. For the first time, it would allow elections to reveal the true patterns of support across Canada (Endersby & Towle, 2014). In turn, the alternate vote would also contribute to the depolarization of the regional divide in current voting patterns. This would have an enormous impact on the campaign dynamics. As previously mentioned, the strategy of influencing voters to vote against a candidate rather than for one will be discouraged for gaining votes. Parties will now have to focus on being ranked preferentially. Under the …show more content…
Compared to Canada’s current electoral platform, the alternative vote system in multi-winner contests allows more diverse groups of voters to elect candidates of choice. In turn, this promotes a diversity of political viewpoints and demographics. The alternative vote, like the first-past-the-post, is a majoritarian system. Although, as previously mentioned, the voting outcome will always result in a true majority for the party which is most popular at the national level (Norris, 1997). In terms of governance, many forms of government are possible under alternative vote. History has proven that Canada’s current voting system allows for most majority governments to be based on false majorities. In the last half decade, ten national governments have been formed by a party with a majority of MPs. However, it was Brian Mulroney, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, who led his party to power in 1984 with over fifty percent support. He was the only one of the ten that had actually won a majority of votes across the country. The two most recent elections had resulted in majority governments, formed by Stephen Harper in 2011 and by Justin Trudeau in 2015. Both parties won less than fourty percent of the vote (Heard,

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