Reprinted from Letters to the Editor, Oshawa This Week
by Bill Longworth, VOTES CHAIR
The most common reason general vote supporters give in supporting that system is that they want a vote in determining all members of council. They say if there is dead wood somewhere, they want a vote to eliminate the dead wood. They also say they want a "say" in determining every city politician. This is faulty thinking.
When voting across the city for all candidates, they have a one in 30,000 "say" in promoting their choice so their chances of influencing the outcome are slight. Even though they know the politician is a poor choice, voter outcome is going to be determined by the vast majority of voters who do not know the individual personally but have only heard his/her name.
Job performance, job suitability, beliefs, platforms, ideas, service to the people, ethics, etc., all become irrelevant as there are too many candidates to make an informed choice. Voters make a choice based on "name recognition" only and the individual "general voter" has next to no influence in the result.
Democracy, where everyone has a choice, depends upon trusting the wisdom of society to make the right choices. If you know a candidate that is/is not deserving of your vote for some reason, chances are ward electors will get to know this and they will cast their vote the same way as you would have.
The more informed voters are, the better choices they make. Ward voters will be more informed about the candidates than could ever happen under a general vote. In addition, if 300 or 400 ward voters come to know the individual as you know him, this could make the crucial difference in leading to the victory or defeat of a candidate.
These 300 or 400 votes are a big proportion of the 3,000 votes cast for a winner in ward voting and so the strength of individual votes is amplified significantly.
Democracy relies on trust in your fellow citizens to make wise choices. As everyone has a vote, you want it to be an informed choice where the voter has a chance to get to know the candidate. An informed choice is the best choice and this is more likely with ward voting. Ward voting will produce the best leadership for the people. Ward voting compels the politicians to work for you.
Trust your neighbour to make good choices. This is the essence of democracy.