by Greg David
Many years ago my father gave a small tidbit of wisdom in regards to city council elections. He told me that just because you can vote for up to three candidates when three seats are open, you don’t have to vote for three. Plurality-at-large voting, also known as “block voting,” is when you have multiple candidates running for multiple seats in a single electoral district. In the case of our upcoming city council election, we have six candidates vying for three seats. On election day, you can vote for up to three candidates, but you can also vote for only one or two.
Why, you ask? Bullet voting is tactical voting, and depending on who you ask, it is either a benefit or a drawback of the block voting system. Specifically, the concept of bullet voting is that you cast only one vote for one candidate that you really want to see in office.
Bullet voting is a strategy where a voter deliberately only makes a mark for a single candidate in an attempt to not accidentally cause them to be beaten by additional choices. Because the voter is essentially wasting a portion of his vote, bullet voting is only a good strategy when the voter has a strong preference for his or her favorite and is unsure of (and/or indifferent to) the other candidates’ relative chances of winning.
Whether you are wasting your vote depends on how you feel about the candidate pool. If there is only one candidate that you would really like to see in office, then casting a vote for three candidates is wasting votes on those who may defeat your favorite candidate. Whereas, if you feel strong about three candidates that all have a reasonable chance of victory, then by all means, vote for three, but don’t be upset if your favorite underdog comes in short and doesn’t make it into office.
Greg David is a candidate for City Council. Watch for profile of Greg coming soon to the website. Greg’s profile will run in the next issue of the newsletter. To learn Greg’s views, visit www.mvgreg.com.