Plunking is very interesting and a topic that tends to circulate only at election time. In simple terms, plunking is where a voter marks their ballot for less than the total number of candidates requiring votes. Using the upcoming October 15, 2022, Municipal Election as an example, you have a total of six candidates running to fill four seats as Councillors. If you vote for just one, two, or three, you are plunking.
Do Locals Plunk Vote?
I can tell you first-hand that this is a tactic that is alive and well in the Similkameen Valley. Plunking, also known as bullet voting, I learned about after sitting in on many of the local election counts in my days as a reporter for the local media. There were many single votes cast along with ballots that received two or three votes. However, I would say that the majority of local voters did cast votes for all four Councillor candidates running in the elections I witnessed.
Is It The Right Thing To Do?
Well, listen carefully on election day when you are handed your ballot for Town Councillors. You should be told that you can vote for “up to four candidates” on that ballot. That should tip you off that bullet (or plunk) voting is acceptable. Not marking your ballot at all, however, or marking more than four when a maximum of four votes are required, will spoil your ballot and none of your votes will count. That will defeat any strategy you may have had in mind.
Are You Not Wasting Votes?
I’ve contemplated this question off and on as each local election approaches. Yes, I’ve plunked in the past. I don’t feel as if I wasted or tossed away a vote when I don’t use one. But I do think that with four votes to use to elect Town Councillors, it gives me access to create an interesting combination of candidates. I’d rather use three or four of my votes than just one or two. I hope that makes sense. I feel that voting for more than two candidates is more effective in my goal of forming a good group of individuals to represent me at the local government level. Typically, I look at the four votes as a tool to put towards building a team of voices around the council table.
The Advantage of Plunking
Okay, let’s look at plunking in action. Let’s say that I and 20 of my closest friends have decided we are all going to plunk. Amongst us, we have chosen Candidate A as our first choice and Candidate B as our second choice. As the vote count proceeds, Candidate A is just 13 votes behind Candidate B for the fourth and final seat on Town Council. Then our 21 votes are counted. If all of us bullet-voted for Candidate A, that person will win the fourth seat by a narrow margin of 8 votes. Our first choice is elected to the final seat on Town Council and our bullet votes made the difference. This scenario is based on ballots that we have plunked with a single vote for one candidate only.
The Disadvantage of Plunking
Alright. So, let’s look at Candidate C. This is someone that I and my 20 closest friends don’t want to see elected. As the election count is underway, Candidate C has a 13-vote lead over Candidate D for the fourth seat on Town Council. Our 21 votes for Candidate A, who is leading the race at this point, are then counted. They make no difference to the race for the fourth seat as Candidate C, the person we don’t want to be elected wins that position. However, if we split our bullet votes between Candidates A and D, Candidate D will slide up to take the fourth seat from Candidate C with a narrow win of 8 votes. Remember, this example is based on plunking with a single vote for one candidate only per ballot.
Is Plunking The Right Tactic In Princeton’s Municipal Election?
That depends on several factors. I think if not all four incumbents were running, plunking may be an effective move. Or, if one or two of the incumbents were not as popular as the other incumbents, then plunking may be useful. But just by looking at the math in the upcoming October 15, 2022, Municipal Election, just six candidates are seeking four available seats. Plunking does not make sense to me in this equation. If there were many more candidates, maybe. Regardless, voters are going to do what they are going to do. So, if you bullet vote or not, don’t forget to leave your mark next to my name, George Elliott, when you cast your vote(s) in next month’s local election. Thank you.
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.