Vote Swapping

It appears that some Canadian voters are using Facebook and other websites to swap votes, also known as vote pairing.

Vote pairing (also known as vote swapping) happens when a voter in one riding agrees to vote tactically for a less-preferred candidate or party who has a greater chance of winning in their riding, in exchange for a voter from another district voting tactically for the candidate the first voter prefers, because that candidate has a greater possibility of winning in that riding.

The CBC and the Star are reporting that Elections Canada officials are watching these groups closely and trying to determine the legality of these arrangements. Vote pairing appears to go back to the American election of 2000, and has proven to be legal under the American legal system.

It will be interesting to see if vote swapping will have any effect on the coming election. In any case, its mere possibility is an interesting commentary on the potential of social networks and self-organizing groups on important matters of politics and governance. It also demonstrate that our current electoral system is badly in need of reform.

To see how vote pairing works, go to

Thanks to Marc for the story, who is my idea man without a blog.

2 thoughts on “Vote Swapping

  1. The phenomenom I find more interesting is the one my wife pointed me at (, which is vote pairing driven by affinities. In this case, voters worried about climate change working together in swing ridings to make sure that parties committed to doing nothing (read “the Conservatives”) don’t get in. The common bond of a desire to fight climate change along with the social connections that a system like Facebook provides can hopefully make for a powerful force.

    We *shouldn’t* have to do this, but our electoral system is broken and the incumbent parties seem loathe to reform it. So screw them, we will route around the problem.

  2. Neat angle, Scott. And as you say, it’s unfortunate that voters have to resort to such strategies to make their votes “count”. I’m wondering if there will be enough of this to make a difference.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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