In thirty years of “Fixed Past the Post” parliamentary elections I never failed to vote. But none of my votes ever had the slightest chance of making any difference. It just happened that I always voted in an overwhelmed minority or an outright majority. Indeed, I felt that my contribution could make so little difference that one time when Paul was studying the election at Intermediate School I took him into the booth and he did it.
Only people who lived in marginal electorates could change anything. And the Electoral Commission, which set the electorate boundaries, sometimes had more to do with the outcome of subsequent elections than the voters. Tiny swings in voting made for enormous changes in the parliament and some outstanding leaders on both major sides lost their seats to much less competent aspirants. I hope that we don’t ever go back to “First Past the Post”.
My two bits’ worth is that we don’t need to abandon the Mixed Member Proportional system. It obviously needs some fine tuning. But basically it ensures that every voter can cast a vote that counts for something.
Any voting process which requires people to sort the candidates in order of preference asks a great deal more than some voters can hande. Indeed, about .5% of those who vote in Australia, where voting is compulsory, just go for the “donkey” vote, numbering the candidate list down from the top in numerical order.
Let’s tidy up MMP and give it a few more parliaments before we tinker with the whole system all over again. If you want to confuse yourself with all five options, they’re well laid out in http://www.referendum.org.nz/