This week my home country, Canada, went to the polls. The campaign had been full of various attacks, scandals, debates, promises, and different visions. Fairly typical. The expectation all along was that it was going to be a close result and it was. The Liberals won the most seats, but not a majority, however the Conservatives won the most votes across the country. The Bloc did better than expected and so, actually, did the NDP. And the Greens, well, they won a seat outside of BC.
While I cast my postal vote weeks ago, it was interesting to see the election reactions occur amongst my facebook friends. Most people encouraged others to get out and vote no matter what their leanings were. Some talked about how their partner was voting for a different party so they were ‘cancelling’ each other out, so why bother.
Two people voting for different parties only cancel each other out if there are only two candidates or there is a tie between the two candidates you will vote for and you are casting the last two votes.
Candidate 1 has 10 votes, candidate 2 has 5 votes, candidate 3 has 9 votes, and candidate 4 has 2 votes. If I’m voting for candidate 4 and my partner candidate 1, we don’t ‘cancel’ each other out, we just are voting differently. Especially when we consider other people. If we decide not to vote, but our neighbours do vote and both vote for candidate 3 then candidate 3 wins instead of it being a tie because we didn’t vote.
If there are more than 2 candidates to choose from your votes don’t cancel each other out, they matter. Even if you are in a country that uses proportional representative, your votes don’t cancel each other out, they matter.