In the polling booth

So there I was, all ready to convert my well formed pro-Liberal Democrat voting intention into a mark on the ballot paper, when this strange mist descended, and all I could think was: is there any way – any way at all – to stop this place going Tory? So I went for the Labour guy instead. Good luck, Martin.

As it happens, there’s also some local elections on around here and the single Green candidate picked up my vote, along with two randomly selected Lib Dems.

Polling continues until ten tonight. It was busy down there. Anyone else had any booth moments so far?

8 thoughts on “In the polling booth

  1. > and all I could think was: is there any way – any
    > way at all – to stop this place going Tory?

    I may well be wrong, but isn’t that unethical?

    What I’m thinking is is that you vote to indicate who you *want*. It’s your individual wish. Everyone indicates who they want and the majority choice wins.

    But if we have people voting to block a person they *don’t* want, are they not by doing so attempting to interefere in the choice made by others? for they are not voting for what they want; they are voting only to stop others having what they want.

    If everyone votes for *who they want*, then the majority choice has a precise meaning and we can see what everyone wanted and the majority wins.

    But if people vote not for who they want, but merely to block others, we do not have a majority-want choice, but rather, a group who choose instead to use their vote to *block the wishes of others*. This seems to me to be profoundly wrong – what right do they have to prevent others from having what they want?

  2. If everyone votes for *who they want*, then the majority choice has a precise meaning and we can see what everyone wanted and the majority wins.

    Not in first past the post systems, where only the preferences of those who supported winning candidates are represented. Hence FPTP attracts tactical voting.

  3. Blank Xavier fails to note an important feature (flaw?) of the WEstminster Model. In each district, effectively 2 candidates compete for a simple plurality. There’s nothing wrong with voting against a candidate when the choice is limited to A or B. In fact the system compels voting against a candidate in scenarios such as Whitaker describes above. Naive voters in the UK go into the voting booth today thinking that they have to vote for someone. If Blank wants a change, he/she should work for a system of proportional representation, which offers voters greater opportunity to vote for someone.

  4. bmeisen wrote:
    > There’s nothing wrong with voting against a
    > candidate when the choice is limited to A or
    > B.

    My argument is exactly that this is wrong. That tactical voting – voting *against* someone, rather than voting *for* the person you want – is unethical, because you are attempting to deny others their choice. It seems to me unethical to impose your will on another in this way. You can vote what what *you* want, which is to say, everyone agrees that the majority wish shall be elected; but you cannot attempt to *refuse* another their choice, which is what tactical voting is.

  5. So you’re suggesting a moral imperative along the lines of,

    Given a election in which only A or B can win in a choice between A, B, and C, thou shalt not attempt to deny the supporters of A their preference by voting for B, even though you want C.

    Counterexample:

    You and your mates have a choice between cider, wine and beer. Only one beverage can be consumed. It looks like it’s going to be either wine or beer, even though you want cider. You detest wine but you can tolerate beer. What do you choose?

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  7. So you choose cider and when wine is the preference of the majority you feel OK because you’ve done the “right” thing having been true to majoritarian principles.

    Voting for beer would be “wrong” because by doing so you would have pursued a flawed, inauthentic self-interest at the expense of a majority.

    Your assertion entails a notion of unitary self-interest and ultimately a justification for an majoritarianism that would deny both free-will to the individual and existence to the minority.

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