An acquaintance was berating me the other day for preferring first-past-the-post voting. The truth is though that I would really prefer run-off elections in every electoral district where needed. It would be simple and cost less than it does now if people learn to trust computer voting.
In any electoral district where a candidate has more than 50 per cent of the votes cast, you have a winner. In ridings where no candidate achieves 50 per cent, you have a run-off election a week later between the top two vote getters.
The first thing you have achieved is a politician is elected who represents the majority vote from your electoral district. They represent you—not just their party. They answer to you when the next election is called.
And I cannot emphasize enough the value of having someone representing you and your community in parliament or the legislature. It is the tension created by the possible conflict between the wants of the voters and the wants of the party. For too long now we have been witnessing the actions of parties that put political dogma ahead of their concern for the citizens.
All these various types of proportional representation are based on putting people into power who are not elected. These people sit in judgement of us without our agreement. They answer only to the leader of their party. I think people are damn fools if they want to give party leaders that much power.
There is a different problem with preferential voting. When there are just two or three candidates, you often find there is little difference from first-past-the-post voting. When there are many candidates, you reach a point where people have no knowledge of some of the candidates and yet think they have to rate them as to preference. What, in effect, happens is that the voting drills down to what might be the least objectionable candidate—without really knowing much about the individual.
It should be noted that a properly managed string of hundreds of secure computers would be needed for a national Internet vote. There are more than just a few ways of encrypting the network to ensure that any hackers are wasting their time.
And we can also count on reducing the costs by limiting voting to our phones and computers, as well as at libraries and government offices.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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