“Partisan interests difficult to avoid in electoral reform debate”

Éric Grenier explores the politics of electoral system reform: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-electoral-reform-politics-1.3577086

One aspect of the reporting on the preferential ballot that continues to be pushed by journalists and pollsters is the idea that you can somehow accurately predict how the system would work in the future based on past elections. This is an exercise in speculation, and I take issue when it is passed off as any kind of reliable scientific prediction of how this electoral system works.

The above article refers to an earlier analysis that predicts what the result of the 2015 federal election would have been under a preferential ballot system, based on polling of peoples’ second choices.

The flaw with this analysis is that it misses the fundamental point that if you change the rules of the game, it will be played differently by political parties. When you change to a preferential ballot system, political parties and campaigns will change too. Parties and candidates will continue to try to win, but the path to victory will be different under different rules.

Trying to predict the results of elections under a different system is no more than speculation, and it should be recognized as such. This article is both an exploration and an example of how politics is difficult to separate from electoral systems

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