The following was a response to a blog post by E May on the Green Party web site...
With municipal elections over and many having taken place using “alternative” voting methods, some of which enabled voters to make their choices over a period of a week prior to closing, I recently mused whether, should this trend ever get to Federal voting, whether opinion polls should be banned during that period. It seems that like political party advertising, opinion polls have a overly strong effect on voter preferences, particularly in the last few days before the polls close.
We SHOULD be voting for the best person to do the job, bearing in mind the overly strong influence that party politics has upon the actions of that individual after he or she is elected, that is not however how it works. Negative advertising, strategic voting based upon the latest polls, and Party Politics has a far greater influence than it should, but can we eliminate or reduce these things? In an open and democratic society (and I am starting to wonder if we can continue to describe Canada as such) can we dictate who says what and when?
Drawing the line between free speech and political interference with election processes is a very difficult line to draw but given the direction that such things are going is one that perhaps needs to be defined. When the ability to blast the airwaves with advertising has a measurable outcome as to the results (even if that outcome is to not vote) it is time to reconsider the rules, if for no other reason that the less affluent amongst us may well be disenfranchised by not being able to heavily fund those partys that may better represent our interests. Recent revelations that publicly funded utility companies are funding political campaigns reinforces my belief that we must look at restricting the manner in which such advertising is used and funded.