Election 2015: Group advocates for strategic voting

NANAIMO - Political science professor suggests strategic voting could have impact.

A local group is advocating for strategic voting in the federal election.

Bob Bossin, spokesperson for Vote Smart Nanaimo, a grassroots group, said strategic voting entails voting with your heart and your head, whatever your political leanings.

“Strategic voting is using your vote to affect what you want to do,” said Bossin. “You might vote strategically I suppose if … you were somebody who thought you should never, ever have a deficit. Well if you felt that way, then you want to vote for Harper or apparently for the NDP.”

According to a September poll from Environics Research, NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson has the lead in Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding with 34 per cent support. Conservative Mark MacDonald and Green candidate Paul Manly are tied with 24 per cent and Liberal Tim Tessier has 17 per cent.

Alex Netherton, a Vancouver Island University political science professor, said strategic voting could be a factor. Nationally, it is a three-way race and even if strategic voting affects two or three per cent of the population, it will make a difference, he said.

“If my intention was to stop Harper, I certainly would pick the party which I think had the greatest chance. I wouldn’t waste my vote on that, and if I was a Conservative, I would say let them duke it out. It’s to my advantage,” said Netherton.

Candidates had varying answers regarding views on strategic voting.

MacDonald said a strategic vote is a vote for a government-side MP and voting for the party one thinks will get into power.

Manly said he doesn’t think strategic voting makes sense.

Malcolmson said strategic voting has always affected the riding because the voting system is broken.

Tessier doesn’t think it will come into play for the riding and thinks it’s a “buzz word.”