Don’t we need PR to make every vote count?

PR proponents often make the argument that PR is the only way to ensure your vote “counts,” and variations on that theme, or that it is the only way to achieve “true” electoral “fairness.”

I take some issue with the notion that your vote “doesn’t count” or is wasted unless the candidate or party for which you voted wins.

Your vote means you joined the conversation and had your say, just like everyone else who voted.

Even given that we’re working with FPTP, and you thus might have voted strategically to try to maximize the effectiveness of your ballot in determining the outcome, not doing so still does not equate to a “wasted” vote.

Either way, your ballot is counted, just like everyone else who voted (unless you spoiled your ballot), and earns a tick-mark against your choice of candidate, just like everyone else who voted.  There is nothing unfair about that.  And, having had your say, strategically or not, just like everyone else who voted, fairness does not require that your choice must win.

Nevertheless, I will freely grant that FPTP (and IRV, less so) can fail here — utterly — when it fails to elect the majority preference, which is indeed the point of this project.

As demonstrated, however, this glaring deficiency can be amply removed with approaches such as Ranked Pairs, which is to say that PR is not our only valid, nor even, necessarily, our “fairest,” alternative.

PR comes in different forms and flavours, and each has its own plusses and minuses.  There are even forms of PR that I could conceivably get behind (Ranked-Pairs MMPR, for example), in the right circumstances, but PR is not the be-all, end-all for electoral reform.

Bookmark the permalink.