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Jennifer Page: ‘Bullet voting’ a good strategy for School Committee


Thursday, October 31, 2019

On Nov. 5, Amherst voters will be able to vote for up to five School Committee members. I recommend that people consider voting for fewer than five candidates. “Bullet voting” (voting for fewer candidates than the maximum) can be an effective strategy to increase the chances that your favored candidate(s) win a seat. Until Amherst institutes ranked-choice voting, bullet voting is the best way to ensure representation of independent candidates on the School Committee.

Here is a hypothetical example: candidates A, B, C and D are backed by a powerful political organization, and candidates E, F and G are not backed by this organization. Voter X wants to support independent candidates, and votes for E, F and G, in addition to A and B. However, by adding to the vote totals for A and B, Voter X may harm the chances of E, F and G winning seats.

Voter Y also wants to support independent candidates, and knows the power of bullet voting, and so votes for E, F and G only. Voter Y is adding to the vote totals of candidates E, F and G, without also adding to the vote totals of the other candidates.

In a town where an election can be lost by a swing of 30 votes, bullet voting is an effective way of supporting independent candidates.

Jennifer Page

Amherst