Month: July 2015

Civic Participation with Kirk Zurell @kzurell, Monday, 27 July 2015

Kirk Zurell

Kirk Zurell @kzurell

There is a lecture on Civic Participation and e-Voting, taking place at Conestoga College next Monday, 27 July 2015. The lecturer, Kirk Zurell is well known in the Kitchener-Waterloo tech community; I’m planning on going.

You can register at Eventbrite: All Those in Favour, Click ‘Aye’. Note that this lecture is not sponsored by the Green Party.

From Conestoga College Events:

User Experience Guest Lecture Series: All Those in Favour, Click ‘Aye’ – The Struggle for Civic Tech

27 July 27 2015, 5:00pm

If a billion people around the world can over-share their lives on social media, why are voting rates still so low? Can e-participation systems coax more residents into taking part in civic life?


In this session, we will apply technology to the role of the voter, resident, and taxpayer. Civic technologies, including e-participation are increasing in popularity, with dedicated labs and businesses springing up to help citizens manage their “red boxes.”


How do user experiences and expectations compare to those of commercial services? How does civic tech affect the roles of the citizen, the political, and the civil servant?


Kirk Zurell, Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity (REAP) Professional University of Waterloo


Kirk Zurell writes op-ed articles for newspapers on topics in civic life. Kirk takes part in civic life through the Compass Kitchener citizen engagement committee and Waterloo Voter Support Committee. He provides information technology support at The Working Centre and investigates digital media at University of Waterloo’s Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity (REAP).


5:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Conestoga College, Doon Campus, Main Building, Room 2A301 Map

To Register:

This guest lecture is free to attend but does require registration: Eventbrite: All Those in Favour, Click ‘Aye’


For more information, contact Dalibor Dvorski.

Strategic Voting Never Works

David Weber (@DavidWeberGreen), Green Party candidate for Kitchener South — Hespeler tweets:

Strategic voting has never got anyone what they want in any past election. Neither has vote swapping, or coordinated voting, or asking parties to remove their candidates from swing ridings. If any of these things worked, they would be endorsed by the parties themselves.

Strategic voting, also known as tactical voting or insincere voting, means that you vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the candidate you like least, instead of voting for the candidate who will best represent you. Strategic voting has never been shown to work in any election that I know of. If there is an election upset in a riding it is never attributed to strategic voting, but always to a “protest vote”.

Vote swapping is making a promise with someone in another riding that if they vote for the candidate of the party you like, you will vote for the candidate of the party they like. In theory, this means the popular vote for the parties stays the same. But Canada does not have proportional representation, so this does not work. It only ensures that you don’t vote for the candidate who will best represent you. And Canada has a secret ballot, so there’s no assurance that the other person will vote as promised, anyway.

Coordinated voting is like vote swapping on steroids. A large group of people in a riding disclose their party affiliation, then they all pledge to vote for the candidate of the most popular party in order to defeat the candidate they like least. Again, this won’t elect the candidate who will best represent you. And there’s still a secret ballot, so you’ll never know if the others in the group kept their promise.

And when one party “cooperates” with another party by not running a candidate in order to avoid splitting the vote, it just deprives the electorate of the choice to vote for that party. You’ll never be able to vote for the candidate who will best represent you if that candidate is not allowed to run. I’m not sure how you can possibly cast an effective vote in this case — move to a different riding? That’s a high price for democracy.

Everyone should vote for the candidate who will best represent them. That’s the way to get the government you want. Strategic voting is not.


Electoral Reform: Let Me Show You It

Booths at the Nonviolence Festival, 2013

Nonviolence Festival, 2013

This weekend gives me two opportunities to demonstrate a Fair Voting ballot in action.

First, on Saturday, 11 July 2015 at the Nonviolence Festival Day In The Park on Roos Island in Victoria Park. Map

Fair Vote Waterloo will have an information booth and will be holding a mock election using Single Transferable Vote. I’ll be there, come say hello and cast your ballot for your favourite food.

Next, on both Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 July, Fair Vote Waterloo will be at the Kultrún Festival in Victoria Park. Map

Again, there will be an information table and a Single Transferable Vote demonstration. I’ll be there on Sunday, come say hello again!


Happy Canada Day!

Bob Jonkman in the crowd - July 1st, 2015 Canada Day Celebration in Gore Park, Elmira

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