Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Don't let people con you into thinking that using your lower preferences in the local elections is the same thing as vote-splitting in a Holyrood election

I've been dipping into some of the discussion on Facebook about whether voters should use their lower rankings in the local elections, and I have to say it's thoroughly depressing to see so many people (including some who really should know better) trot out a silly red herring about the use of lower preferences supposedly being similar to vote-splitting in the Holyrood election.  The implication is that voters who rank parties other than the SNP are making the same mistake that cost Nicola Sturgeon an overall majority last year.

Let me point something out.  Long-term readers of this blog will not need me to remind them that both myself and Morag Kerr (aka Rolfe) spent an inordinate amount of time last year warning SNP supporters that they were taking a terrible risk if they split their Holyrood vote.  I don't know about Morag, but I took a fair bit of nasty personal abuse for doing that from people associated with the Greens and RISE.  And yet both of us have spent almost as much time over the last few weeks urging SNP supporters to use all or most of their preferences at the local elections.  We haven't had a Damascene conversion, or changed our minds in the slightest - we've simply noticed that the local election voting system is completely different from the Holyrood voting system, and works in a completely different way.

The difference can be explained very simply.  Any SNP supporter who split their Holyrood vote last year by voting SNP on the constituency ballot and Green/RISE/Solidarity on the list ballot was actively voting against the SNP on the list.  There was always a chance that it was going to cost the SNP a list seat.  Those 'tactical voters' may have convinced themselves the risk was minimal and justified, or they may have been hoodwinked into wrongly thinking there was no risk at all, but in the real world there was always a possibility that the SNP were going to be harmed.  By contrast, anyone who uses their highest preferences in the local elections on the SNP's candidates, and then uses their next-highest preference on the Greens, or on Solidarity, or on the Scottish Socialist Party, is not voting against the SNP.  That lower preference will not even be taken into account until and unless all of the SNP candidates have been either elected or eliminated.

There is no risk.  People are being scared by imaginary monsters - and the daft thing is that the people doing the scaring have nothing to gain from it, and everything to lose.  They're just caught in a mindset that isn't appropriate for this particular voting system, and they can't seem to break out of it.

31 comments:

  1. Interestingly, all sides seem to be beset by the same confusion, so maybe it'll all cancel out. There's a number of comments on the Hootsmon advising people to rank everyone but the SNP and Greens, as giving them even the last and second-last preferences "could put them over the top".

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  2. It does seem difficult to get through to some people that if you have 2 SNP candidates in a 3 seat ward, your lower rankings might help to elect another pro-independence candidate, or candidates, rather than a unionist without affecting the chances of the 2 SNP candidates.

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  3. In another way putting the Tories and Labour at the bottom of your preference helps the SNP/Greens/SSP.

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  4. I think most people have more or less got the bit about voting for the SNP candidates with your top preferences and putting a Green next if there is one. What they have not understood is that this is only half the process.

    Under STV your vote can go on influencing the result all the way down the line. So if there's any of your vote left over after electing your first or second choice (and there may very well be, which is something a lot of people struggle with), you can use it to influence which unionist gets in.

    You can't stop unionists getting seats. This part isn't about helping the SNP or the Greems or electing more pro-independence candidates. You've done all you can in that respect by ranking the pro-independence candidates at the top of your preferences.

    It's about still having a say if it comes down to the last seat and only unionists are still in contention. If the last seat is a slug-out between Tory and LibDem you can't help a pro-independence candidate. But you can help the LibDem keep the Tory out of that last seat.

    In our ward that is exactly what is going to happen. The last seat will be between the LibDem and the second Tory, with the first two seats going SNP and the first Tory. All the Tory transfers will be on Tory2. If Tory2 gets in that will be another Tory in the council, and maybe enough to revert the council to Tory control.

    At the moment the council is a coalition between the SNP and the LibDems and some assorted others. We'd like to keep it that way. The LibDems are weak and we're not even fielding enough candidates to take outright control. We should be telling all SNP voters, delicately and tactfully, to make sure they rank the LibDem above the Tories. We need all the SNP voters' fractional transfers piling up on the LibDem to keep out that second Tory.

    We're not even trying. "We can't say that on the doorsteps, we can't put that on leaflets." The council is going to go back to the Conservatives, with all the cuts and the hardship that will bring, and the gloating as well. And we don't even seem to realise what we should be doing to try to prevent it.

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  6. The Voting Riddle - An Answer.

    I think of it as 'taking full control' over my vote by using every last option to get what I want.

    For instance, I *really* don't want the Tories to get seats, even more than I don't want LibDems or Labour. The Tories are (IMHO) bordering on evil. So I have a choice;

    a) I can just vote for SNP and Green candidates on the list (1, 2 & 3 - depending on how many of each are standing). Or,

    b) I can use the list to its full, by ranking *all* the candidates standing - by putting my ranking numbers in *all* the boxes.

    NOW:

    The problem with 'a' (the first option) is that I have shown that I don't care about, or want to have any influence over the order of the remaining candidates, and how many votes they get. Now, other people with other ideas may be ranking Tories highly, or at least higher than LibDem or Labour. THEIR votes will push up their chosen parties in the aggregate, because *I* didn't ensure they had lowest ranking. In other words, me giving the Tories the *lowest* vote, counters someone else giving them a higher vote!

    BUT:

    If I take full control of my ballot slip, and use *all* of the boxes by ranking *all* the candidates, my putting the Tories last (i.e. 6th out of 6) counters someone else who has ranked them higher, and when the aggregate numbers are tallied, and as every number in every box 'means' something, my ballot could help put the Tories last.

    SO:

    Obviously, your first choices are the most important to you, but there is also huge *practical* value in the *order* you would like the others to be placed.

    TIP: [IMPORTANT]

    If you think of it as voting for who you would like to come *LAST* as much as who you would like to come first, then you can't go wrong. Take full control of your ballot slip!

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  7. General Election announced by PM.... Lifeline handed to useless MEP'S... May was never for Brexit.

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  8. The big questions today...
    Will Teresa get to have her general election...?
    Will the tories hold on to their three seats in Scotland...?

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    Replies
    1. She will and the three seats are irrelevant. It is what the anti brexit parties will campaign on that will be interesting.

      Delete
    2. The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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  9. Interesting implications for Scotland.

    I would guess the SNP will campaign on an explicit mandate for another referendum. Given it's FPTP they should do fairly well (40+ certainly, 50+ most likely) which will strengthen their hand.

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    Replies
    1. They can only campaign on independence that is all they have along with selling out Scotland to the EU. They follow mainstream Thatcherite Tory policies so what else for them!

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  10. I think it could well be similar to 2015, I'm not so sure that the areas where the libs picked up more votes than others will go to the tories. Don't see why they would.

    The only areas that would cause issue with the SNP is Aberdeenshire West, Michelle Thomson's constituency in Edinburgh and maybe down the borders as well as Kirsteen OsWald's in Renfrewshire...

    I can see SNP winning in ian murray's seat as the high no vote might split his vote....

    Very interesting one though.

    How much will the indyref affect things when support for indy is at least 48% AND nearly all that support is behind one party.

    With the other parties fighting out for the majority...but it's obviously split...

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    Replies
    1. What about Natalie McGarry's seat? That could be interesting. And Alistair Carmichaels, after the fuss last time.

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    2. McGarry is Glasgow, I can't see any of those seats going blue or red?

      Carmichael will be pretty safe I would assume, think SNP won the Orkney vote last time? Or came close to it, was Shetland that felled Mr Skene last time?

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    3. Glasgow East has been oscillating between the SNP and SLAB throughout the last decade. It's certainly Labour's best chance of regaining some ground in Glasgow, provided they aren't daft enough to select Mags Curran.

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  11. Theresa May's announcement of a snap general election is clearly naked political self-interest. No surprise there.

    She clearly believes Labour can be massacred, a Tory majority increased, SNP MP's reduced & Indyref2 strangled at birth.

    Now is the time for Nicola Sturgeon to go all in.

    This GE for Scotland has to be for independence & nothing less; fighting a campaign on your opponents' territory is never a wise move.

    The SNP has to fight it on their own terms & not as some rearguard action seeking to hold on to as many SNP MP's as possible.

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    1. Agree 100%. A simple majority of SNP MPs at Westminster = Scottish independence. Every bit as democratic as a referendum the Unionists will only agree to when they know they will win.

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  12. Knickerless very upset because wisnae tellt furst. A woman of her ain importance.

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  13. My ward has 4 potential seats. 2 SNP are running, and will be likely to win 1 & 2. The Green candidate is unlikely to win, but will get my 3 vote.

    I could waste my time working out which other candidates will / won't be most likely to win, but as long as my vote goes SNP 1,2 and Green 3, I'll have done my best.

    Trying to stop Lab being 3 and 4 (most likely result) by voting Tory last won't make a difference to what all the other voters are doing. You vote your way, and I'll vote my way. If the voters decide that a Tory is to get seat 4, that's their wish, and their responsibility for the consequences.

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    Replies
    1. No, you won't have done your best. That's only half the job. You can't know how the lower preferences fall, it's an abrogation of responsibility not to vote the Tories last even is you flip a coin for the inbetween rankings.

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    2. Completely agree , the job is not done till every box has a number in it ! , why are people not getting that !

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  14. Bumblefuck Brexit and the kipper tory incompetentsApril 18, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    Eoin Clarke‏ @LabourEoin 13m

    Crown Prosecution Service have just released a statement. The General Election will not prevent them taking charges for Tory Electoral Fraud

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    Replies
    1. The con merchant Nat si party with their failed promises should be charged.
      The rich in Scotland are increasing in wealth and the Nat sis Tartan Tories refuse to put an upper limit on tax for the rich.

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    2. The poster above is a far-right racist troll from EnglandApril 18, 2017 at 5:57 PM

      The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist Neo-Nazi hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister

      Delete
    3. If you were Labour you would hardly be so upset at the Tories up to their neck in election expenses fraud, you sockpuppet simpleton

      PMSL!

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    4. Only the Tories fiddle. That is a good election campaign slogan.

      Delete
  15. Bumblefuck Brexit and the kipper tory incompetentsApril 18, 2017 at 5:54 PM

    Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 36m

    Imagine being so shit at politics you were actually afraid of Jeremy Corbyn.

    “Theresa May won't take part in any TV debates”

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  16. Bumblefuck Brexit and the kipper tory incompetentsApril 18, 2017 at 5:55 PM

    Nat ����‍♀️ ����‍♀️‏ @NatBatsx 4 hours ago

    PM on Scottish independence vote: Nows the time to focus on Brexit.

    PM on Brexit: Nows the time to have a general election.

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  17. Bumblefuck Brexit and the kipper tory incompetentsApril 18, 2017 at 5:56 PM

    Eoin Clarke‏ @LabourEoin 13m

    Crown Prosecution Service have just released a statement. The General Election will not prevent them taking charges for Tory Electoral Fraud

    ReplyDelete
  18. At the Holyrood elections I also kept saying to people that they were voting against the SNP with their list vote,and I too took a lot silly words from many of them even now some are still saying that we lost our majority because not enough believed them.Too thick to work it out that they were voting against the candidate that they had just voted for.Now we have the same folk trying to convince people not to complete their list or their preferences same folk spreading same sort of twisted logic or perhaps they are just unionists in disguise,and that is the worrying part they are managing to convince so many to vote the way unionists want them to vote.Oh and I hope I did say thanks for your explanation of the preference list.

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