The Morning After Voting Strategically

Jesse Bauman

It’s November now, which means Stephen Harper is about to pack up his keyboard and turtlenecks and look for a new place to call home. The Conservative Party of Canada’s defeat was in part the result of a dedicated national strategic voting campaign.

The so-called Anyone But Conservative campaign also attracted a great deal of criticism. Now that we are on the other side of the election, TCE checked in with voters, to see how the process made them feel. Here are select responses, edited for clarity, along with each person’s riding.

Marc, Waterloo: I’m somewhat torn about it all, really, because I get why people wanted to make absolute sure Harper didn’t get back in. I’m one of them! But I think my biggest sadness this time around was that the NDP had a real chance, and if they couldn’t beat the stupid strategic voting campaign this time, then when?

Misha, Waterloo: This guy voted strategically, #noregrets.

Margaret, Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte: I did and I am going to fight pretty hard over the next four years to avoid doing it again!

Rachel, Kitchener-Centre:  I did, and am looking forward to Trudeau holding up his promise of electoral reform.

Emma, Parkdale–High Park: [Voting NDP in a conservative community, when I was a kid] was about proving that people like you existed, that you were real. It was an act of taking up space to create slow deliberate change. Trudeau said that campaigns and elections don’t have to be run on fear. Such irony. Fear is how strategic voting works. Fear is the two party system. [But voting] should be simple. You read the platforms and vote for who you respect the most. For who you want to vote for. [With all the strategic voting communications, I wonder] how many youth didn’t vote because they were worried they would do it wrong and how many more voted for who a website told them to vote for instead of learning about the system?

Brian, Eglington Lawrence: I almost always vote strategically. A sports better who only wagers on their favourite or the home team is bound to lose money.

Andrea, Kitchener-Centre: I voted strategically, but waited until 8:30 p.m. because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think the experience gave me the push I needed to fight for electoral reform so hopefully in years to come I won’t need to vote strategically.

Khadija, Kitchener-Centre: My neighborhood is teeming with old white folks and youth who are not of age to vote, a recipe for a Conservative win in my riding, so I decided to vote liberal [despite my love of the NDP]. Do I feel guilty about my undemocratic vote? Not really, because I chose the best of the worst.

Lee, Waterloo: I’m happy to see change, but frustrated that this seemed like the only way to get there, fast. This country needs a better electoral system, ASAP. I might begrudgingly vote strategically again if it means protecting the rights of the most vulnerable Canadians.

Seth, Kitchener-Centre: You should vote for who you think would best represent your community in Ottawa, regardless of party lines. Unfortunately, this time I was more intent on getting Harper out than actually voting for the best candidate in my riding.

Carolyn, Kitchener-Centre: Strategic voting makes me feel like I have less freedom to choose someone who I really felt represented my values, but I already often feel that way during elections, torn between voting for a regional representative and a federal leader or party with the same vote. On the other hand, there was something about the collectivity and purpose of this election that made me feel empowered in a communal sense. I felt the energy was more wide spread, and there was drive sweeping across the country for change. If we could keep that fire burning to continue to push for positive change, perhaps next election we’d have a fairer opportunity to vote for who and what we care about.

Marcella, Niagara Falls: I considered it very seriously, but in the end [strategic voting] just didn’t feel right to me, so I opted not to.

Sarah, Kitchener-Centre: I voted strategically, and it sucked.

This is obviously not a complete survey of (strategic) voters. What do you think? Tweet your thoughts @theCommunityEd or share online.