Why your vote matters.

One of the most specious arguments by people trying to promote proportional representation voting in government is that of the ‘wasted vote.’ They are suggesting that in first-past-the-post voting, if your candidate does not win election in the riding, your vote is wasted. They are also saying that if your vote is more than what is needed for your candidate to win, it is wasted.

The counter argument to this is that in a truly democratic election, no vote is wasted. When you see how people in countries around the world envy our democracy, it is hard to believe that some people do not bother to vote.

And what is truly wonderful about our system of voting is that we have the opportunity to vote for people. We do not have to vote just for a political party or some faceless person chosen by politicians who does not know us, our needs or our community. Our member of parliament can be one of us. We should always be the ones to choose who will represent us. Our representatives can speak for us in parliament. They can bring our ideas and our needs to the councils of government. Why would we ever want someone who is not from our area to represent us?

If I were to take issue with the recent study of voting systems done by our parliamentarians, I would first complain about who they used as expert witnesses. No matter how much study they have given to voting systems, political scientists are not experts. The real experts are the political volunteers in electoral districts who give freely and generously of their time to working on elections for their candidates. These people often work regularly on municipal, provincial and federal elections for many years. They know the ins and outs of attempts to cheat and defeat our electoral system. They know the strengths and weaknesses of our system of voting.

Some of these politically involved people have worked on elections in the United States, while others have had opportunities to study voting as official observers in emerging democracies that want their voting to be beyond reproach. I believe that Canadians have the least corrupted and most honest voting system in the world.

But we are a long way from perfect.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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