Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tactical Voting

I am part of a team who put out leaflets and I recently received a very nice reply from a 92-year-old who took the trouble to tell me how her father had told her that a vote for the Liberals was a wasted vote. Well a vote for Liberal Democrats is not a wasted vote now. There is a Liberal Democrat councillor in my part of Morecambe. The leader of the City council is a Liberal Democrat, and I have also heard something about coalition in government!

This story leads nicely into the referendum on AV. If the vote is to go ahead in May next year then we will hear a lot more about the pros and cons of changing the voting system, but the present first-past-the-post system allows for 2% of the population to decide who will govern the country. The vast majority of votes don't count either because they are not cast for the winning candidate or the winning party and there is a total distortion of voting caused by tactics. You just don't get tactical voting if your vote counts.

Change the world


  1. I'm afraid you're misinformed on the nature of AV (also known as IRV). Take a look at wikipedia's summary table of different electoral systems:


    The relevant criteria are "Monotone" (ie. voting for a candidate cannot hurt that candidate) and "Participation" (whether or not it's worth your while to vote at all). AV fails both these criteria whereas Plurality passes. This means that the "wasted vote" problem is worse under AV than it is under plurality, QED.

  2. Thanks for your comment Macx. However I can't work out how you disagree with my blog. I am willing to concede that the word "total" should not have been used in the last line, otherwise I stand by every word.

    As for your agenda, AV may be known as IRV but there is a significant difference. Runoffs involve two separate elections with possibly very different turnouts. People might vote in the runoff who didn't vote in the first election. That can't happen with AV. So a runoff might produce a strange counterintuitive result, but that same result can't happen with AV. As for AV failing the monotone and participation criteria. this is only likely to happen in extremely unusual circumstances, unlikely to happen in real elections.

    You may care to look at http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=55 where you will find sentences like AV "eliminates the need for tactical voting". I am quite willing to continue this debate but I would like it continued in terms of my blog rather than yours.