With elections taking place during reading week, we are using this week’s issue to share as much as we can with you about candidates and knowing your options.

For myself, and many other students, this will be my first time voting in a federal election. I have voted in provincial and municipal elections before, but this will be my first time approaching the beast that is our national electoral system.

As someone who is ready to see our current overlord shimmied out of his current throne, I am making sure that before I go to the polling stations this year, I am informed, aware, and prepared to vote strategically. There has been a large amount of discussion this year about our ability as voters to create the change we want by voting in or out certain parties, and using majority voting tactics in swing ridings to ensure one progressive party receives the majority of votes, instead of having them evenly split across the spectrum and going to the wayside with not enough support.

Our current first-past-the-post system allows for a party to win with a minimum of 34 percent of the votes when split between three parties. This means the two remaining parties could receive up to 33 percent of the vote each, but that one percent would make the difference.

My priority as a citizen, and as a student, is to elect one of the progressive parties that can create meaningful changes for students, education and job prospects, among many other issues.

In the 2008 federal election, a website called strategicvoting.ca identified 68 districts where the combined progressive vote was greater than that of the Conservatives. Meaning there were overall more votes for left wing parties, but the votes were split in a way that made them each negligible.

If the method of strategic voting was followed at that time, we would currently have a minority progressive government.

If you live in a swing riding, look online to see which progressive party has the highest chance of being elected, and if you support the difference this could make, use your vote to count towards that, instead of falling into an almost even split between parties.

As McMaster students alone, we account for thousands of potential voters. It is important that we use this position wisely in order to incite change where we see it fit. In this month’s issue, both our News and Opinion sections look at ways students can benefit from each party’s platform. And while the point of this whole article is to emphasize the importance of strategic voting, it is even more important to know who you’re voting for, and how they can make a difference to you — that’s the real strategy behind voting.

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