Highlighting the unheard voices and distorted results created by Canada's electoral system

Wasted Vote: A vote cast in an election that has no effect whatsoever on the result of that election

54,189,226 Canadian votes wasted and counting

That's the total number of Canadian votes that were wasted just in the elections tracked on the site. Almost 51 % of the total votes cast.

Votes are the bricks on which democratic systems are built. The means by which citizens participate in their governments.

But does every vote cast in Canada actually make a difference? Surprisingly no, in the First Past the Post (FPTP) system that we inherited from Britain in 1792 most Canadian votes today have no affect whatsoever on election results.

Finding this out came as a great shock to me. I have voted in every election I have been able to and I was surprised when a friend of mine said to me that I was wasting my time as my vote wouldn't make any difference anyway. I was even more surprised to find out that he was right.

In FPTP the amount of support a party gets has no effect on how many seats it gets in parliament. It did not make sense to me how a party could win 60% of the seats and gain complete majority power even though it got only 40% of the votes until I realized that in FPTP all the votes a party gets are not important; all that matters are the votes that win a riding. All other votes are wasted which means that in many Canadian elections more than half of the votes cast are wasted.

The purpose of this site is to track all those wasted votes. The votes for Liberals in Alberta, Conservatives in large urban areas, the Green party in Calgary, the NDP in Quebec and many more besides. These are the voices that FPTP, and other disproportional systems like AV, suppress and need to be heard to create a better Canada, a Canada in which every voice matters.

Most Wasted Votes

Most of the time in our current system more than half of the votes cast in a district are wasted. The following table shows the worst of these from all the elections tracked on the site.

ElectionDistrictPercent Votes Wasted
2015 Election for the Federal Government of CanadaPierre-Boucher--Les Patriotes--Verchères-Que.71.36 %
2015 Election for the Federal Government of CanadaSaint-Hyacinthe--Bagot-Que.71.35 %
2015 Election for the Federal Government of CanadaQuébec-Que.71.1 %
2015 Election for the Federal Government of CanadaMontmagny--L'Islet--Kamouraska--Rivière-du-Loup-Que.71.01 %
2008 Election for the Federal Government of CanadaGatineau-Que.70.85 %
Overall more than half of the votes cast in 1563 districts were wasted. Almost 58 % of all districts

2015 Election results

Congratulations to the Liberal Party but the 2015 election shows yet again the frankly bizarre results that come from disproportional winner take all systems like FPTP. Especially as 4 of the ridings with the most wasted votes in all the elections tracked on this site came in this election. It is ironic that the province in which Canadians actually had multiple parties that could possibly win in their districts leads to by far the most votes that elect no one and have no impact on the parliament they were waiting for. This cannot continue.

While the outcome is similar that a party that was supported by less than 40% of Canadian votes won a fake majority there is hope that 2015 may in fact be the last unfair election. The NDP and the Green party in the campaign committed to bringing in a fair proportional system that can finally make this site no more than a historical record and the Liberals committed to ending FPTP. Please join www.fairvote.ca to help convince the Liberals and our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that another disproportional winner take all system to replace FPTP would be no change at all. We have never been closer to getting Proportional Representation in Canada!

Will update site with the final results when they are available as these results are preliminary so far. Please let me know if you see any errors and I will fix them.

Update to remove PHP errors

Hi, it's been a while. One purpose of this update was to get rid of some annoying errors that came from the site code being out of date.

The other and more important part is to remind all Canadians that the 2015 Federal election is in full swing. This is by far the most important election that I can remember as two of the four federal parties have committed to PR while one has committed to ending FPTP. We have never been closer to getting rid of millions upon millions of wasted votes, stopping vote splitting, and allowing as many Canadians as possible to be represented. Please go to www.fairvote.ca and help out in any way you can. Call all the candidates in your riding to show that you will be voting for PR. This way the Green and NDP candidates will know they are on the right track and the Liberal candidates will know that if it comes time to study the issue than the only reform that makes sense is PR. Not yet another disproportional system that wastes votes and distorts results!

2014 Ontario Election results

Reportedy in a news story Kathleen Wynne told her troops "It's not like 100 percent of the people of Ontario voted for us". She's right, In fact less than 39% of Ontarians did. And yet nobody is pointing out how absurd it is that the Ontario Liberal party has full power to do whatever it pleases when far less than a majority of Ontarians voted for them. Check out the sad reality of how single winner systems like FPTP and its close cousins AV/IRV distort the true voting intentions of citizens.

2013 Nova Scotia Results

With the 2014 Ontario elections fresh on everyone's mind I have finally managed to put up the results for the 2013 Nova Scotia elections. I'm not very fast :). The highlights of this election, other than the usual fake majority, is the Nova Scotia NDP getting MORE votes than the Progressive Conservatives but winning FEWER seats. FPTP and related systems such as AV and IRV completely fail to represent how people actually vote.

2011 Ontario election results finally

This is a bit later than I expected, but life gets in the way of many things.

The Ontario 2011 elections showed many things, but more than anything else the incredibly cynical ploys the McGuinty Liberals employed to get every last seat shows how very horribly FPTP, and all winner take all systems, encourage politicians to behave. Every big party is so close to gaining full power with a fake majority that achieving that overrides all other objectives.

And these systems also make any minority government that the system may elect incredibly unstable. Instead of settling down and respecting the will of the electorate to make his minority parliament work, McGuinty instead tried to govern with an arrogant 'major minority' and the consequences of that are plain to see. PR systems are the only systems that accurately reflect the will of the people in legislatures. It's past time we moved to them.

Proportional Representation everywhere, parties or no parties.

For many years I have been a member of an organisation, Fair Vote Canada, that has been dedicated to ending the problem of wasted votes in Canadian elections by advocating for Proportional Representation.

It finds itself at an unfortunate crossroads however as internal divisions have forced a referendum on whether it should give up on advocating for proportional representation in municipalities without parties and instead support another system called AV or IRV. This is happening because of some overlap in the membership of Fair Vote Canada with a local campaign (called Rabit- Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto) pushing for the AV system at Toronto City Council.

Simply put this would be a complete and total disaster. AV for a representative body strikes directly against the core principles of Fair Vote Canada and comprises a serious challenge to the cause of Proportional Representation in Canada as a whole.

The 2011 Election, a return to 'majority' government

While the 2011 election was historic in many ways one way in which it was not historic at all was in the form the 'majority' government has taken. Less than 40% of Canadians voted for the Conservatives and while they more than deserve to be the leading party they should not have the full power which the antiquated FPTP system has given them. Two ridings from the last election have vaulted into the top 5 of the most wasted votes that this site tracks. More than 68% of the voters in Vancouver-Centre, B.C and Ahuntsic, Quebec are not represented in parliament. How is this democratic?

Ontario 2007 election, way more coming this year

So with a Federal Election underway and an Ontario election coming up later this year I finally went back and added in the 2007 results (Hard to do when Elections Ontario only provides pdf files to previous election results!). To no surprise more than 2 million Ontarians are currently being 'represented' by people they did not even vote for. It's pretty funny to see the media talking about how parties are close to a 'majority' when none of them are even close to being supported by half of Canadians. The definition of majority in the Canadian system is incredibly screwed up.

BC2009 election results

Finally managed to put up the 2009 election results for BC. Just another false majority. FPTP is barely adequate in a two party system but with multiple parties becomes completely unworkable. The Greens should have won seven seats in the last BC election and there is no good argument as to why they didn't.

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