As a follow up to my article Preference Voting in the 2011 General Election, I’d like to quote two salient paragraphs from an opinion piece, PR system permits great voter articulacy but is seldom explained, by John Waters in today’s Irish Times:
One of the many beauties of the PR-STV system is that it can function at both the personal and communal dimensions of voter intentionality. In the British system, for example, the voter operates in an entirely individualised capacity, simply adding his simple opinion to all the others. But under our system, if he is to maximise the viability of his vote, the voter can take account of his intuition as to the intentions of other voters, while being enabled to add his own twist or refinement.
Long before I reached voting age, my father urged me always to vote right down the paper: if there were 14 candidates, you numbered them all. I don’t know whether anyone does this anymore, nor do I get the impression that many people understand why this is the only way of maximising your vote, or that many care one way or the other.