Vote tactically, or for what you believe in?

Tactics can alter the votes filling the ballot box. Photo: Anthony Karanja

Tactics can alter the votes filling the ballot box. Photo: Anthony Karanja

As election day edges closer, there is still indecision for many over which party to vote for. However, the bookies are indicating that both York Central and York Outer are not three horse races.

York Central is the constituency that many second and third years will be voting in, whilst those on campus will be voting in York Outer.

In York Central, Labour are the clear favourites. You can barely get your money back on betting on a win for Labour candidate Hugh Bayley. Second favourite are the Conservatives with betting website Victor Chandler offering 7/2 on their candidate Susan Weeks winning the seat. The Liberal Democrats are a long way behind them though, with candidate Christian Vassie looking like an outside shot.

York Outer is a much closer affair, but only between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats if the odds are anything to go by. James Alexander, the Labour candidate, is receiving the huge odds of 40/1 to win.

The race is seemingly between Madeleine Kirk, for the Liberal Democrats, and Julian Sturdy, for the Conservatives. Kirk is currently edging it according to the bookies. Victor Chandler is offering the lower odds of 8/11 for Kirk compared to 1/1 for Sturdy, and other betting websites are similar.

The issue of clear favourites in particular seats paves the way for tactical voting rather than voting for the party that you want to win. This flaw in the electoral system complicates the process of voting. Of course, perceiving a vote on an outside candidate as a ‘waste’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Despite Alexander being an outsider, he may still defy the odds.

Tactical voting may have aided the recent popularity of Nick Clegg. Former Labour supporters who aren’t attracted by the prospect of voting Brown may be transferring their votes to the Liberal Democrats in order to avoid Conservative dominance. Ideology certainly plays a significantly role in any election.

Having to vote tactically naturally raises the question of whether our voting system is the best structure. The German voting system involves voting once for a constituency candidate and a second time for a party overall.

In the UK, we face the conundrum of whether to vote for the local person or the party we want to rule overall. However, in Germany voting this way often leads to no party having a clear majority, and can limit the effectiveness of the government.

Perhaps deadlock is the price to pay for democracy.

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