I don't vote. I've never voted. It's a long story.
If, though, at the end of my life you count the number of elections in which I was eligible to vote, whose ultimate outcome was decided by a single vote, and therefore could have been affected by mine, I bet you count zero. Add my vote, take my vote, no change in the result in any election. I literally count for nothing.
My vote would count for more in the following system I first saw described nearly ten years ago:
Instead of counting the ballot papers, and declaring the winner to be whoever got most votes, the ballot papers would be put into a tombola, thoroughly mixed and one ballot paper taken out. The winner would be whoever was voted for on that ballot paper.
To encourage a high turnout, only the winning candidate would retain his deposit. The remaining deposits would be given, as a prize, to whomever cast the vote which was taken out of the tombola.
In this arrangement I'm actually more likely as an individual to have my own vote affect the outcome than in the current system. It doesn't seem any less democratic: as the original post says it's just a statistically noisy form of proportional representation.
I note the following advantages over the "first past the post" system:
- sidesteps the tyranny of the majority;
- offers a chance to break out of the vicious cycle which leads to a two-party system;
- gives me, an individual voter, a non-zero chance of my vote affecting the final outcome;
- offers positive incentives for turnout; and
- has an exciting entertainment aspect.
The future of politics is right here! What's not to love?
Now read Electoral reform, redux, for more on the math and philosophy of this proposal—and why not to vote in the current system.