I'll Vote Green If You Do: electoral kickstarter for minority parties

The UK Green Party has built a version of the kickstarter for elections I proposed last year: they're signing up people who promise to vote Green if enough of their neighbours will do the same.

I'll Vote Green If You Do is an attempt to break the traditional collective action problem for third parties: no one wants to risk "throwing away" their votes for a party that "can't win" -- and the reason the party can't win is that no one can be sure if their neighbours will follow their suit.

I joined the Greens last year, after bitter disappointment with the Labour and Libdem parties' record on progressive issues, like surveillance, school fees, corporate corruption, free speech, and the environment. I want to vote for a genuine left-wing, progressive party, not some Tory-lite party that has a no-go zone wherever their policies might offend the international mega-investor class.

There's lots of people in my constituency of Shoreditch/Hackney who seem to feel the same way. If enough of us feel this way, maybe we can shake the safe seat that Labour's Meg Hillier (architect of the National ID card, who voted for the Digital Economy Act) occupied for so many years.

I'll Vote Green If You Do

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  1. daneel says:

    The reason the party can't win is because of FPTP, and because the UK electorate were too stupid to vote for voting reform to get a system that gives minority views even a seat at the table, we're still all stuck with holding our nose and picking least bad. The Greens have their support and deserve a say but their policies wouldn't win many seats even if people thought they could win.

    Which in my case means voting for a Labour party that was an authoritarian disaster area last time out because they can't be worse than the Tories or a UKIP party polling at 20odd% in my constituency. Luckily I don't live there any more! smile

  2. The whole point of this is to overlay alternative voting atop FPTP, by allowing people to signal a first preference before the election. If you use the service now, you can help to oust a bad Labour authoritarian candidate without having to risk leaving the path open for a worse Tory one.

  3. Is it open to manipulation? For example, consider a Tory/Labour marginal, where Labour are slightly in the lead in the polls. Lots of Tory voters lie and say they'll vote Green - enough to make a Green victory look likely. A number of the more more left-wing Labour voters therefore defect to the Greens, splitting the left vote, and the Tories get in.

  4. This was tried in the US in 2000 in support of the Green Party. Then, the idea was to let Greens in "swing states" still vote Green, but not take support away from Al Gore. Slate got behind the idea.

    (Actually, this being the Greens, there ware many differently individual motivations -- I am certain the BoingBong Commentariat will set me straight 8)

    Several state Attorney General's deemed it illegal ("selling" ones vote is a crime in most stats), and legally harassed the websites supporting the co-ordination, largely stopping the project. Oddly, many of those Attorney Generals were Republicans. Later legal analysis suggest the vote-swapping WAS constitutional.

    I wish you better luck in the UK.

  5. No, but that was because of living in a flat that was attacked by fascists for a year, and I was recovering right up until the Conservatives started enacting their policies to the indifference of their LibDem coalition partners.

    But I wasn't a Labour supporter even when they were elected in 1997, they lost me when I was still in my teens and John Smith was leader. I'm also not a Green Party supporter, although they look far better than the alternatives on the ballot paper at the moment.

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