“Vote Swapping” could lead to Elizabeth May’s victory in Saanich-Gulf Islands

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VOTE SWAPPING: WILL ELIZABETH MAY WIN THANKS TO THE INTERNET?
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 ( http://www.pairvote.ca ), 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 http://www.pairvote.ca and Vote Swap Canada at http://voteswap.ca
Vote swapping information for the media: http://www.votepair.ca/for-media/

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Media contact: Daniel Tourigny, 250 882 9821, Dan@TenaciousAsylum.com
mailing address: 310-799 Blackberry Rd., Victoria, BC V8X 5J3