There is no doubt that the upcoming Municipal Election for Princeton Town Council has created a lot of interest. With a total of 18 candidates (two have withdrawn their names) vying for 5 seats – one Mayor, four Councillors – you have to wonder how this is going to play out. I’ve heard a lot of talk in the past week about “The Split” and how will such a thing not happen in this local election with so many names put forward.
The fear – if I can call it that – is that with so many people to choose from (15 for the 4 Councillor seats), voting results may get ‘watered down’ to the point that such a spread develops that someone slides up the middle as a dark horse. In effect, taking votes away from other Candidates and ‘splitting the vote.’ If you look at the math, it’s a plausible possibility that could happen.
Here’s the numbers part of the game. With 3 Candidates vying for the single seat of Mayor, each Candidate has a 33.33-percent chance of winning. With 15 Candidates seeking election to the 4 Councillor seats, each Candidate has a 26.66-percent chance of success. In the overall scheme of things, 26.66/33.33-percent ain’t bad. The goal for any Candidate would be to try to leverage some of that percentage from another Candidate.
Where things really get interesting is the actual voting process for Councillor. How many of you feel that you have to vote for 4 people? Your obligation is to vote. You can vote for a total of 4 people but you are not required to use all four of those votes. In other words, when you step into the polling station you have a total of 5 votes you can use. One for the Mayor’s race and four for the Councillors race.
A voting strategy known as plunking – also called bullet voting – is where you do not use all four of your Councillor votes. For example, if there’s just one Candidate you like, you just vote for that person. If there are two that you like, you vote just for them. The same thing applies of there are just three Candidates you want to support. The idea here is that you actually put your vote into action.
When you use all four of your votes, say there is two Candidates you like and the other two you used at random because you felt obligated to use all four, you can actually cancel out some of your voting power. Sure, there are strong arguments against plunk or bullet voting, but when you have as many Candidates as we do going into this Municipal Election, it may be a strategy worth exploring.
Have I Ever Plunked?
Yes, I have. I refuse to spoil my ballot by not casting a vote or voting for more Candidates than required. I have found that by plunking I feel as if I’ve put a bit more power into the votes I cast. However, I have also voted the full number of votes required on a ballot as well. It really depends on the election and the Candidates for me. Plunking may not be the strategy for your voting style.
But at least now you know you have one way to give your vote a bit of an extra punch.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.