Tactical voting is voting for a party or a candidate that a voter may not want in an effort to defeat a candidate the voter does not want to win. Usually, the voter chooses the candidate most likely to defeat the candidate.
For example, a voter prefers Candidate A, but really dislikes Candidate B. If the voter perceives Candidate C has a better chance of defeating Candidate B, the voter will vote for Candidate C in the hopes of making sure Candidate B is defeated.
This has even occurred recently when Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty called for tactical voting. Hoping to defeat Opposition Leader, John Tory, he attacked the NDP by saying that "a vote for the NDP is in fact a vote for the Progressive Conservatives."
Tactical voting is often described as a vote against someone instead of a vote for someone. This tends to lead to voter apathy.
It's prevalent in FPTP for the simple fact it's only necessary to have the most votes in a riding, meaning close ridings have this occur more often. The candidate who benefits most from tactical voting will often play up fears in the hopes of just slightly tipping the balance in their favour.
It's a compounding effect, as this negative campaigning also leads to voter apathy.
I like some of the policies of one party, but I like some of the policies of another party. If I select FPTP, will the parties work together?
Most certainly not. As false majorities are the norm, political parties that form governments declare they have the mandate to do as they see fit - that may be to implement a radical platform or to completely abandon the promises they were elected on.
Voters are left to vote "all or nothing" and hope for the best.
I support Party A, but my riding has consistently supported Party B. I feel like my vote is wasted. Is it?
A vote is never truly wasted, but it may seem to you that your vote is unnecessary. This could lead someone to stop voting.
I find I can't support the old line parties anymore. I like a smaller party - if I vote for them, what are the chances my candidate will win?
It's not likely - in fact, it's a practical impossibility.
The FPTP system, by setting the threshold for winning so low, makes it harder for smaller parties to get seats. Under FPTP, even a small party with a sizable portion of the popular vote may not get a seat in the legislature!
Larger parties then use this as evidence to refer to these parties as "fringe" or not representative of electoral wishes.
No. If anything, political parties have more power over candidates, making them more responsible to the party brass than the voters of Ontario.
All candidates will want to maintain high standing within the party - toeing the line to ensure they are not booted from caucus or removed as a candidate. This is over and above the party support and finance that a candidate needs to get elected at the riding level.
Up next, a summary.