Friday, July 5, 2013

Andrew Coyne on FPP and polarizing politics

In a National Post column, Toronto voting proposal might be last shot at electoral reform in Canada, conservative columnist Andrew Coyne points out how First-Past-the-Post rewards polarizing politics while Preferential Voting (ranked ballot) ends them. (Partisans won’t benefit from obnoxious politics under Proportional Representation either, which Mr. Coyne also supports.)

“When a candidate needs only a small slice of the electorate to win he has little incentive to make himself less obnoxious to the rest; indeed, he has every incentive to amp up the us-and-them rhetoric, the better to lock down his support.
“With a ranked ballot, on the other hand, it’s not enough merely to have the most votes. You have to get a majority. Vote-splitting thus ceases to be an issue: Voters can mark a 1 beside their preferred candidate in good conscience, knowing that their second and third choices will also be counted. And because a candidate will typically need those second and third choices to win, he now has an incentive, not to attack and divide, but to reach out to supporters of other parties.”

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