Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vote anyway

The chances your vote will decide the election are pretty small. Multiply that by the difference between electing an MLA you prefer and someone else. The marginal benefit for casting a ballot is vanishingly small.

If that's the extent of your calculations, you'll pretty quickly recognize that voting is a waste of energy. A twenty minute nap would probably do more for your long term well being.

The voting system we have is mostly a legacy system we have whose chief benefit is that it's easy to count. Its downsides are many, including that it 'wastes' most of the votes.
What's worse, the system itself encourages you to lie. People talk about "Strategic Voting" but it's really just lying on the election, and that only helps because an inefficient system makes that the best approach to a bad situation.

Any rational elector whose favourite candidate is unlikely to win will instead cast their ballot for a candidate they can tolerate 'with a chance'. But that's a guessing game.
There are lots of better systems that can take into account a nuanced, educated electorate. They can get more information out of the ballots and create a Legislative Assembly more closely aligned with the objectives of the people they represent.

Alberta is a complex province and deserves a legislature which adequately reflects that complexity. The electoral system is lousy, but it's the one we have. Electoral reform would be nice, but that won't happen before Tuesday.

Vote anyway.