19 October, 2019

Blog

Immature Opposition To Second Preference Voting

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

In other parts of the world where preference or tactical voting is available parties strategize how to use it and voters employ it with enthusiasm. It is a measure of the maturity and intelligence of an electorate that people know to game the system to reach the best outcome. But no sir, not here! Imagine a scenario like this. Party C will do well but knows it cannot win. Furthermore, it is of the opinion that candidate A is a potential dictator while B is a class rival not a fascist. Stupidly C then says to its speakers and canvassing teams “Don’t say a word about giving second preference to less-worse candidate B because people will then think we are not going to sweep to victory!” Does anyone hallucinate that by refraining from mention of tactical voting one’s vote bank will swell to the millions? Would C rather wallow in delusions than do its mite to shore up the vote against A who, in its own estimate, is a peril to democracy? Stupid!

This absence of tactical voting intelligence and treating the public like morons is not a state of mind invented by me. I come across it right here in the runup to the presidential election. Thirty three of the 35 candidates should not hallucinate that they will poll six million votes to clinch the presidency? Do they envisage that by not mentioning second preferences they will be charmed into first or second place? Phew! Where do these people park their brains?

I have not seen such political naivety in other parts of the world. Tactical voting is openly discussed and the benefits of different approaches frankly compared. However, gross inanities I sometimes hear from our own People’s Power comrades. Of course if we are not in Gota’s or Sajith’s bandwagon, we are not going win the presidency. We know that, everyone knows that, and we are planning for a future beyond that. But we can make no progress towards that future if we start fooling ourselves and our cadres.

People have asked me to explain what happens if no candidate gets over 50% on first count. Apologies to Colombo Telegraph’s clued up readers but let me answer. Say 100% is 100 votes and candidate A polls 46, candidate B 44 and all the others put together the ‘remaining-10’ votes. No one has over 50% so the elections people will proceed to count second preferences of all candidates except A and B. 

Now consider two extremes: 

1. None of the ‘remaining-10’ voters cast a second preference. In that case of the 90 (46+44) new total (the new 100%), candidate A wins because he/she has polled 46 which over 50% of this new total of 90.

2. Say just 3 voters of the ‘remaining-10’ cast a second preference for B and no other second preferences are cast. Now of the 93 (47+46) gross, B with 47 has secured more than 50% of the new 100% (93) and is the winner.

An important point to remember is that a second preference should be given only to one of the two main candidates; second preference indication to all others will never get counted. Sorry if this is all a-b-c to you but trust me, people have asked me to explain the mechanics of the preference voting system since details differ from country to country.   

You will appreciate why I am labouring this if you agree that it is unlikely Sajith or Gota will get over 50% first preferences. The only other significant candidate is Anura who will poll substantially. This means that the second preferences of Anura’s voters is crucial. If some of them are brainless sectarians and abstain from making a second preference, they may allow Gota to creep in – which is just what they DON’T want. To get everyone to understand the importance of Anura’s voters casting a second preference for Sajith (yes, hold your nose and do it) is not that easy. But there’s time to win over the naysayers. 

A slightly less old than I Samasamajist has grumbled that by calling for ‘First for Anura; second for Sajith’ I am undermining the collaboration of the Left with Democrats. Nonsense! And the queer thing is that this chap’s own party has put forward a candidate! What is he telling people; to give first choice to Sajith and second choice to his own candidate? Seems droll!

If Gota or Sajith poll over 50% on first preferences, that’s it, matter closed. Otherwise a second is as good as a first; they all count the same. Hence absolutely nothing is lost in the commitment to defeat Gota, and everything is gained (building the future) by the ‘One for Anura, two for Sajith’ tactic.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    Kumar (Prof.)….., Lankan majority will do 2nd preferentials for someone who ensures the sovereignty of the country + when stock market starts booming. Can’t force the majority to accept anything remotely connected to land–bridges and non-Buddhist secular things. So Anura and Gota should start becoming friends now.

  • 4
    0

    A man who refuses to take even foot back has to be admired, if it his action affects him or a close family circle only, such as his marriage.
    .

    But if becomes extremely dangerous if the person concerned is the leader of a country, because it affects all citizens. Such a man should never be allowed to come to power.

    • 0
      0

      non of them ever will fight Tamil or Muslim extremism because these leaders are not Sinhalese Buddhists. You can’t hide the facts. Rajapaksas and RWs are foreign descendants, Christians related Tamil and Muslim and when foreign spies come and put law on them, they easily conspire against Sinhalese Buddhist majority secretly or openly in order to stay in power. RW is good example and Rajapksas stayed in power and did not counter foreign spies.
      I don’t know why Sinhalese and some dumb monks are dying and promoting these leaders by knowing their family background.

      There are about I guess 18 million Sinhalese Buddhists to choose from.
      I guess colonialists installed leaders for Sinhalese Buddhists and they go by what colonialists installed in their mind

      I like to meet some of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist and ask them if they need to see a doctor to learn the meaning of nationalism

  • 0
    3

    It’s well known that counting is always followed by recounting so counting will be dragged for another week or two in case no one has had 50% @ the elections end.

    So planning/management is of crucial importance of the election so as to make the election a perfect one.
    The concept of 2nd & 3rd preference counting must be withheld & instead EC can draw a master plan to deal with any situation.

    The polling card (the official document posted to voters informing their right to vote) should go in 2 parts.

    1 for 1st round of election & the 2nd for possible 2nd round of the election due to the failure of any candidate to go beyond 50%.

    As the 2nd round is going to be only with 2 rivals recounting requests can be minimized & the election will be of least cumbersome.

    Most importantly there’ll be no room for anybody to rig the election.

  • 5
    0

    Kumar:

    In other parts of the world where preference or tactical voting is available parties strategize how to use it and voters employ it with enthusiasm. It is a measure of the maturity and intelligence of an electorate that people know to game the system to reach the best outcome. But no sir, not here! Imagine a scenario like this. Party C will do well but knows it cannot win. Furthermore, it is of the opinion that candidate A is a potential dictator while B is a class rival not a fascist. Stupidly C then says to its speakers and canvassing teams “Don’t say a word about giving second preference to less-worse candidate B because people will then think we are not going to sweep to victory!” Does anyone hallucinate that by refraining from mention of tactical voting one’s vote bank will swell to the millions? Would C rather wallow in delusions than do its mite to shore up the vote against A who, in its own estimate, is a peril to democracy? Stupid!

    *** You have got a partner in Fahim who was my sparring partner. But honestly JVP have no chance because theyare saddled with Insurrection.
    But when it is a choice between the ” Devil” ( Gotha ) and the Deep Blue sea ( Sajith in calmer waters) you at least have choice.
    A is Devil, B is Deep Blue Sea C you and I and the vast majority are over whelmingly Dracula lovers so what choice have you got other than a ” Blood Sucker”

  • 2
    0

    Hobson’s Choice and all that .  .  .
    .
    kali
    (above) has quite rightly said that the choice before us is between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.   However, two others, on the previous page,  have made confused and confusing references to “Hobson’s Choice.”
    .
    The many confused and confusing views expressed on the subject of Preferential Voting testifies to the difficulty busy people have to focus on this issue before it is too late.  Also, there is a problem with the language used to explain all this.
    .
    We are free to cast our ballots for any of 35 candidates.   Therefore, there is no way that what we are faced with can be referred to as “Hobson’s Choice”, which means “no choice”.  Sri Lankans are not familiar with the idiom.  Also, let’s face it, we cannot operate competently in the English language.  So, here it is, condescendingly explained in “Easy English” – but note the use of euphemisms:
    .
    https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/words-and-their-stories-hobsons-choice-119976004/118765.html
    .Old Thomas Hobson was a man who allowed the Cambridge undergraduates of those times “no choice”.   They had to take the horse in the first stable, and no other.  We, on the other hand, may vote for any of the candidates – and actually, we may vote for three .  Just imagine old Thomas allowing anything of the sort!
    .
    Here is the story told in more advanced language.   It feels like doing the Textual Criticism of Shakespeare plays:
    .
    https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hobsons-choice.html
    .
    This is partly light-hearted.  It may be that I’m just a village schoolmaster trying to be pedantic.  I wouldn’t really say that it’s a problem with English; it’s just that people have no time to work out the ramifications of all that they read.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.

leave a comment