Tactical Voting: What it is and how to do it

You may have heard in the media the term ‘Tactical voting’ being mentioned, but are not entirely sure that you know what it is. Let’s answer this concern.

What is Tactical Voting?

Tactical voting is a method of maximising the value of your individual vote. It works anytime there are more than 2 options to choose from. Everyone has one vote. The idea behind tactical voting is to make the most impact with your individual vote in your desired political direction. So, if your ideal party is very left of centre and unlikely to be elected in your region, you can instead choose to vote for a party that is not your ideal, but is preferable to a party in a strong position further to the right. This is how it would look like for you at this election.

So how does Tactical Voting work?

It only works because of the current electoral system. If Proportional Representation were adopted, whomever your favourite party is, they would receive fair representation in government. A vote could not be considered a waste. Instead, the number of total votes does not matter, only how many seats are won. Tactical voting is a challenge to this unrepresentative system. An attempt to make it more representative to you.

Tactical voting is looking at past results, seeing how parties have performed in recent elections and  choosing to vote in a manner to affect change.

For example:

Party A received 20 votes last election, Party B received 19 and Party C 4 votes.

Tactical voting exampleIf your preferred party  is Party C, and Party A is the furthest from your views,changing your vote to Party B could prevent Party A winning outright.

tactical voting example

Now obviously there will be a lot more voting taking place and it is unlikely to come down to just one vote, but each conscious vote can make a difference collectively.

Why would you want to vote tactically at this election?

You would only need to vote tactically if the area where you are eligible to vote has a strong Conservative candidate.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, called an early election in an expectation that she could strengthen her position in government by increasing the number of Conservative Party Members in Parliament. Ensuring less opposition to her more divisive proposals, which even a few within her own party have contested. A larger majority would weaken the voice of concern.

So the primary objective with a tactical vote this year is to prevent an increased majority. The hope though, is to achieve a change of government entirely.

What if the Conservatives are strong where I live?

Although the odds are worse than if you were living in a closely contested seat, it is still worth considering a tactical vote. Benefits can still be achieved by reducing a sizable majority. Politicians rely on the security of safe seats. By reducing the strength of a party in your area, they will need to work harder to ensure they retain them. It is this reason that safe seats can be left to stagnate or taxes unfairly raised. Whereas, areas where the vote is not secure receive greater public engagement and contentious taxing is given greater consideration.

What now?

There isn’t much else to say really. If you want the current government having a blank cheque to write all their own laws. Deciding your future for you, then do nothing.

If you still want to have a voice in your future, vote for whoever can beat them where you live.

If you would like to learn more about why you vote the way you currently do check out my previous blog post

Please share with friends and family. Tactical voting isn’t a dark art, it’s just making sure that your one slice of cake is a fair size.

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