“Don’t do that it’s wasting your vote.”
“Well, if you must but it’s a waste of a vote.”
“You’re just wasting your vote.”
Like most people I do not belong to a political party. This election I intend to “waste” my vote. Why would I do this, you ask (I hope)? As I see it to avoid “wasting” my vote I should consider several scenarios:
The candidate most likely to win. Be on the winning side – what’s not to like. Increase the constituency majortity to 100%. Everyone is represented, it is the logical outcome of not wasting a vote by being on the winning side. Extrapolate that to the country we can then all vote for the party that is most likely to win. The result is a House filled with members of the same party: a one-party state, they always end up well, don’t they. That would truly be a wasted vote.
The candidate most likely to come second. Be on the side of the “rebels” let the front-runner know that they are being watched. Keep ‘em keen, that’s the way. A smaller majority, one eye over their shoulder they can’t ignore us now! However, the candidate wins, their policies are not what you can support you are saddled with a creation brought about by not thinking things through. You get Jeremy Corbyn. The party becomes ill disciplined. Once again extrapolating to the House, government becomes difficult if not impossible. The Party spends it’s efforts in fighting itself. It can only enact those policies in it’s manifesto (and not all of these either). So, poor government or a government that enacts policies inimical to the good of the country. A wasted vote?
An Independent or Minor Party Candidate (IMP). The Protest Vote. Now, here is a wasted vote but only if it is used to vote against something, down with this sort of thing may seem to be a logical position but that denies, in my view, the need for a vote to be a positive expression of political will. Where a vote is predicated on the negative it is likely to bring about a negative outcome. Corbyn again? However, the IMP vote can be positive – Brexit. Additionally, in times of small majorities the IMP can become far more powerful than their representation would normally allow. So, even though power is not the goal of this vote is it wasted? A House comprised entirely of IMPs could not govern effectively. We had a glimpse of that during the Coalition – there was a wasted election never mind votes.
The spoiled ballot. A participation, of sorts, however, it cannot affect anything except negatively. Wasted participation let alone vote.
The not going to vote. Many people do not feel that political participation will affect anything in their lives (wrong) and reason that the 20 or so minutes spent on the franchise to be wasted.
The None of The Above option has been popular forever in States where participation is not mandatory. I do not believe that voter apathy is at the root of this but the lazy tribalism that comes from party politics. If a constituency always returns the same party then what’s the point? Here is a significant source of wasted votes. Nor do I believe that voter apathy explains this all away. The separateness of politicians from the common folk and their ineffectiveness in representing the common ground (H/T the great Normo Tebbs) strikes me to be more in tune with politician apathy rather than the electorates. This is not “we failed to communicate our message” it is more that no-one likes your message.
So, I have already wasted my vote. I chose the IMP route as I could not in all conscience vote for any of the established 3. Not that the party I have selected represents all my views, it does not, but there is more common ground than with any of the others.
“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”–Plato (Paraphrased, see the Lard Projector for something better).
So, how will you waste your vote?