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I would never claim a vote for another party was a wasted vote (unless I was trying to squeeze that vote for partisan advantage - politics is an opportunistic activity).

What we need is proportional representation so people can vote for the party they really support. Under first past the post the tendency is for the elector to vote for the least bad of the two parties which are perceived to be in first and second place locally. That is what makes the wasted vote argument effective.

I am glad to see from the above posts that Brighton has a vibrant local political culture, even if it causes problems for my party.

by Gary J on Sat May 5th, 2007 at 10:19:00 AM EST
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What are the chances that your vote affects anything? Really? So most votes are wasted anyway, so why not vote as I want you too...

I think the whole "wasted vote" thing does not hold up in any reasonably large constituencies unless the goal is to have voted for the winner and thus be on the winning team.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 5th, 2007 at 05:17:26 PM EST
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In the UK the wasted vote argument was traditionally used to squeeze the votes of minor parties (like the Liberals - regarded as a minor party since circa 1924 by the Conservative and Labour parties). It was more effective in a first past the post election to fill a single place, than it would be in a proportional representation election to fill multiple seats.

The refinement, since the Liberal/Alliance/Liberal Democrats became a significant electoral factor in 1974, is that the third party realised it too could deploy the wasted vote argument whenever it was perceived to be one of the two leading parties in a constituency.

Small numbers of votes can be significant. I myself witnessed a local election in Slough when two candidates were tied and a seat was awarded on a throw of dice. UK parliamentary elections, since universal suffrage, have produced majorities as low as two.

by Gary J on Tue May 8th, 2007 at 08:49:06 AM EST
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