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Being the researcher and the phenomenon – VoterMedia.Org October 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in random thoughts, Vancouver.
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I was briefly reading a couple of notes by Sean Orr (Beyond Robson) and Rebecca Bollwitt (Miss604 on Radio Zoom) on the work of Dr. Mark Latham, founder of VoterMedia.Org and I thought to myself “hey, I haven’t even talked to Mark yet since I came back“. I probably should do it soon.

I have to admit that when I was nominated to participate in the Vancouver Election Blog Awards, I was pretty flattered. It made me feel as though my content was deemed worthy and relevant (in regards to my coverage of political issues, particularly municipal elections in Vancouver).

Truth be told, as someone who has taught public policy, at some points during the VoterMedia project, I have felt both like the researcher and the phenomenon under study. Given my training and education, I am aware of the behavioral mechanisms that underlie the project itself, encouraging bloggers to create guides to educate the public for a better, more informed decision-making process.

Given that I understand how the project works, the hypothesis would be that if I wanted to be rewarded with a monetary incentive, I would be interested in creating such guides. And truth be told, I *do* like monetary rewards 🙂 But the thing is, my blog is rather personal and while I do have written a fair number of posts on municipal and Canadian politics, and on public policy/water policy as they pertain to Vancouver, I still primarily blog about myself (yeah, you can call me self-absorbed but truth be told, I am not really)

I just want to say that the project has a great underlying platform and it would be great if we (bloggers) kept our readers  well informed, so that they can make choices that they feel are more educated and based on data rather than just purely political affiliation or random voting.

And I know that everyone will want me to link to Kevin Grandia’s Vote for Environment site (a lot of my off-line friends have already emailed me saying “hey Raul, can you link to this?”) so here is the link. The foundation of Vote For Environment is to create patterns of strategic voting (i.e. voting not for whom you are ideologically inclined or whom you’d vote but for whom has more chances of winning).

EDIT – I had written this post weeks ago but somehow kept putting it off and now it’s published. Obviously, Vote For Environment’s focus was the Federal election (and we all know what happened to that). But you could still vote strategically in the provincial by-election and municipal election.

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Comments»

1. Beth - October 22, 2008

This reminds me – when are you going to write about the Vancouver mayoral election? Like a bit about each of the candidates?

Also, I think that your description of strategic voting needs some clarification. The way you have put it here (i.e., voting for “whom has more chances of winning”) makes it sounds like you are just trying to vote for the winner, which is not exactly correct. For example, if you are in Stephen Harper’s riding, he has the best chance of winning so by your explanation, you’d vote for him. Obviously, this is not strategic voting. The idea behind strategic voting is to get rid of vote splitting which allows a candidate to win even though they don’t have the support of most of the people in a riding – for example, let’s say you prefer an NDP candidate but you know that in your riding the NDP candidate will have little chance of winning, so instead you vote for the Liberal candidate, who is your second choice – you vote for them because their views are similar to yours and you really don’t want the Conservative candidate to win; thus, you are voting to ensure that the Conservative candidate in your riding does not win as a result of the left’s vote being split between NDP, Green and Liberal.


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