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Where does Pair Vote go next?

Hey there, please join the conversation on where Pair Vote goes next by adding a comment at the bottom of this post.

Fellow vote reformers, I’ve been avoiding writing this post for far too long. It’s been 5 months since the federal election, where over 8000 people committed to work together and share the power we have as voters. Sadly, our voting intentions were once again denied. You can read the final report on vote swapping in the 2011 federal election here .

What we learned about vote swapping after two federal elections is this - vote swapping has the potential to become a powerful force for change. What we need is to scale participation , so that vote swapping becomes a deciding factor in the kind of government we elect . What we need to do is to go from 8000 to 100,000 vote swappers . That means it’s time to get serious and go beyond a small group of volunteers, and to build and promote a system that puts more power in the hands of voters , a system that political parties and concerned citizen groups embrace for real change.

Governments will then be faced with a choice : yield to vote swapping and its effect on results, or give in and deliver real voting reform. Until we have reform, Pair Vote is here to stay.

Right now, several provinces are holding their elections , with more to be held in 2012. Now is a great time to get some attention to voting reform, and most importantly sign up more people for vote swapping, in time for the next federal election. Ideally we’d be having this conversation months ago, and I regret delaying for so long. I should have given the Pair Vote community the opportunity to take the lead, where I have not been able to. There is still time to make some noise!

At the same time, we need to build the next generation vote swapping system that puts more power and choice in the hands of voters.

Let’s talk! Add your comments below. Register for the newsletter in the side bar to be part of the ongoing conversation. We’ll likely create some sort of collaborative workspace in the near future.

Yours for a strong democracy,

- Gerry Kirk, founder of Pair Vote

CBC Radio Active Edmonton

Check out my interview with Peter Brown on the CBC Radio program “Active”

Local citizen group inspired to bring about real, necessary change. Odds are against them, but doing the right thing is never easy.


Three Saanich-Gulf Islands Residents Unite to Inform Voters of a New Voting Option

Late in this election cycle, a group of residents in Saanich-Gulf Islands have decided it's not too late to inform voters about vote swapping. Why vote swapping? It's the answer to a lot of issues many voters have with strategic voting and could cost Conservative Gary Lunn the election.

Daniel Tourigny, Constance Cooke, and Pamela Millar have had it with vote splitting. Most recently, it cost Liberal candidate Briony Penn the election when the NDP candidate — who withdrew from the race — received votes that would have otherwise likely gone to Penn, a well-known environmental activist. This time around, it's long time activist, lawyer, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May who stands most likely to beat Lunn — but could be another victim of vote-splitting.

That's where vote swapping comes in.

What is a vote swap?

Explains Daniel, "Let's say it looks like Elizabeth May in our riding has the best chance of defeating Lunn, but typically you support the Liberal party. Vote swapping allows you to 'swap' your Liberal vote with a voter in another riding, one who normally votes Green. You mutually agree to vote for each other's preferred party/candidate. In the end, each of you has a better chance of seeing a candidate from your party of choice elected. It's a way to increase the strength of your vote."

Vote swapping has only recently come onto the scene, thanks largely to the internet and social media. Though the trio are concentrating on their hotly-contested home riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, it's something that could affect swing ridings across the country. At sites such as Pair Vote ( ), their system matches voters from different ridings in an effort to increase the chances that a vote for an NDP candidate, for example, results in an NDP candidate actually winning.

It's win-win, and something the three Saanich-Gulf Islands voters believe has only lack of public awareness standing in the way.

"To me, it's a no-brainer," shares Pamela , "It's not about party politics either. You can be a Liberal or NDP supporter, but in this riding if you'd prefer not to see a Conservative MP represent you, the leading choice is Elizabeth May. On the other hand, I know there's lots of people who support the Liberal or NDP platforms. By vote swapping, they can have it their way and see a Liberal or NDP supported in a riding where that candidate has a shot at defeating the Conservative candidate. In the end, we all win."

To help with their cause of educating the public about vote swapping, the three residents decided to turn to the media for help.

"I don't think many people know about vote swapping. It's an option, and it matters that people know about it. Our country is at stake, and only an informed public can keep our democracy alive," says Connie .

And as for its ethical basis, Daniel added, "This is a step we can do right now, each of us, to make up for an electoral system that needs reform. It's unethical that the representation in parliament does not reflect the will of Canadians. I find it ridiculous that it's come down to deals between Canadians across the country to swap votes. It should be a signal to all parties that democratic and electoral reform has got to be a national topic of discussion, and soon."

Vote swapping resources for voters: Pair Vote and Vote Swap Canada at
Vote swapping information for the media: /for-media/

Media contact: Daniel Tourigny, 250 882 9821 , [email protected]
mailing address: 310-799 Blackberry Rd., Victoria, BC V8X 5J3

How can you help spread the word?

Well take a look at what super supporter Janaya came up with!  She has made her own car ads and lawn signs!!  What can you come up with to help get the vote pair strategy out there??

And so it begins… this morning I got on the airwaves on Toronto's CFRB 1010 and Kelowna's AM1150 to discuss what pair voting is, how it works and why we're doing it. I particularly enjoyed the Kelowna interview as we had more time to discuss the issues, including why our voting system is the reason Elizabeth May not included in the debates is even an issue! Have a listen:
Am1150 Interview by Pair Vote Canada Listen on Posterous

Cfrb Interview by Pair Vote Canada Listen on Posterous

Pair Vote re-launching for 2011 Federal Election

People have been asking for it, so we’re resurrecting it. Sign up to be notified when the pair vote system is ready for registration:

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