Two heads are better than one says Vote Pair


Last Updated: April 13, 2011 5:54pm

Some worried Ottawa-area voters hope shipping their vote elsewhere will give their voice some clout.

Katya Duhamel, 31, said she has resorted to Vote Pair, a volunteer-run campaign that pairs Canadians so they can swap votes.

“I strongly believe that we need electoral reform in Canada and pair voting is a short term solution to our broken system,” said Duhamel. “I want to put the power back in my vote.”

She said she believes voting for the Green Party in her riding of Nepean-Carleton won’t make a difference because that’s where Conservative incumbent Pierre Pollievre seeks a fourth consecutive term.

Vote Pair made its debut in the 2008 federal election, with 6,000 people signing up and almost half of those finding a match for the swap, according to founder Gerry Kirk.

Jean Le Clerc, 36, is one of the new believers after catching on to Vote Pair a few weeks ago.

He said swapping his NDP vote with another riding may cure his feeling of helplessness in the Pontiac riding.

That’s where Lawrence Cannon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, is seeking term number three.

“I kept feeling that my vote didn’t count, it didn’t matter what I did,” said Le Clerc, who previously lived in Gatineau, where the Bloc Quebecois reigned supreme. “I got frustrated with that.”

But Kirk said the popular vote still didn’t represent Canadians well, so he once again wants to focus on swing ridings, where close races could be impacted by swapped votes.

Vote Pair reported one riding in Edmonton and another on Victoria Island were affected by the movement in 2008.

But Elections Canada is also warning voters to be cautious with their vote.

“Encouragement to vote in a particular way is not prohibited under the Canada Elections Act,” said Diane Benson, who reminded voters there is no guarantee a swap will be carried out and it can’t be verified.

“They (voters) might be subject to misrepresentation and people acting under multiple or different identities,” she said.

Duhamel argued there is communication between two swappers.

Le Clerc, a self-proclaimed avid voter, said he will live with the consequences, if there are any.

“At this point, I’m so fed up and disillusioned I’m willing to take that risk,” he said, admitting his girlfriend isn’t quite ready to trust others with her vote.

[email protected]

Click here to read the article on the Ottawa Sun page.

Filed under: Canada 2011

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!