EDITORIAL: To plump, or not to plump your vote

General voting day for the municipal elections is Saturday.

By now, hopefully most voters have their minds made up as to who will get their “x” on the ballot.

Municipal elections are unique in that it’s an opportunity for the electorate to choose multiple people for the same positions.

Of course, we only get one choice for mayor (or regional director, or school board trustee), but when it comes to council, there are many options.

Courtenay and Comox residents will elect six council members, and Cumberland will elect four.

As such, voters are allowed to choose up to six candidates in each of Courtenay and Comox, and up to four candidates in Cumberland.

The key words here are “up to.”

And that’s where voting strategically comes in… even when parties are not involved.

Voters are allowed to select as many candidates as there are seats on the respective councils, but should they?

Some strategists say no. They recommend “plumping” – voting only for the candidate(s) you really want to see elected. According to “pro-plumping” strategists, giving a vote to someone you really don’t care about, simply to fill the ballot, weakens the position of those you really do want in.

Others say by not using all your allotted votes, the chances of someone you adamantly oppose getting in, increases.

To plump, or not to plump? That is the question.

By those two arguments, the most logical decision would be to vote for your favourites, as well as anyone other than those you adamantly oppose. You may still end up with fewer than the maximum, but at least you will not be paving the way to a “back door entry” for someone with whose views you completely disagree.

Whichever system you choose on Saturday, we simply urge you to choose.

We encourage everyone to gather as much information as there is available – and there is a plethora of information available – and make an educated choice, whichever way you vote.

Being uneducated, with all the resources available, is not excusable.

Remember, if you choose not to vote, then you have no right to complain about the direction in which your municipality is heading.

–Terry Farrell

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