OPINION: For Squamish, a case against strategic voting

Success, Mark Twain wrote, “is a journey, not a destination. It requires constant effort, vigilance, and reevaluation.

With Oct. 21 fast approaching, a successful election not only requires constant effort, vigilance, and reevaluation on part of the campaigns but so too of the constituency.

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Amidst recent murmurings and whispers encouraging strategic voting, it is now more important than ever to pay close attention to the polls and be wary of political misdirection.

Strategic voting is when an elector decides to vote against their preferred candidate in an attempt to prevent a less desirable choice from attaining office. For example, in the 2015 election, an NDP supporter may have chosen to vote strategically Liberal to prevent a Conservative victory. The underlying goal being to increase the odds of electing a party with more preferred values and policies.

But does it work? The answer is yes, but not always.

The suggestion behind strategic voting is that a vote for a third party is wasted and that an elector is better off hitching their support to a party that is perceived to have a shot at winning. The unfortunate result of this, of course, is that parties like the NDP, Greens, and People’s Party are often marginalized while the Liberals and Conservatives compete for votes.

Looking at the numbers for our West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country riding, as of Oct. 13, the NDP, Greens, and Conservatives are polling at 7.5 per cent, 25.1 per cent, and 25.2 per cent respectively, according to 338Canada, a statistical model of electoral projections based on opinion polls, the electoral history of Canadian provinces and demographic data. The Liberals still maintain a nearly 15-point lead. For those electorates looking to make their vote count this election, it can be difficult to know what to do, especially with a swath of recent ads, articles, and memes encouraging strategic voting. While there are various legitimate reasons to vote strategically, it is imperative to be cautious and realize that a great deal of this encouragement is political noise attempting to sway your vote.

Every voter in the riding has an equal say in this election, make sure your voice is heard.

Editor's note: Eli Cornell is a Quest University student interning at The Chief.

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