Horgan vows to veto closed-list option if PR passes

Premier John Horgan says he’ll instruct his NDP MLAs to block an unappealing version of one of the proportional representation models, if it wins in this month’s referendum.

Horgan told Postmedia News on Wednesday that if British Columbians vote to replace the province’s electoral system with mixed member proportional, he will order NDP MLAs to oppose the so-called closed list approach when a legislature committee decides the details of the new system.

“The direction from me will be that the members of that committee not support a closed list,” said Horgan, describing a model in which voters don’t get to select candidates from party lists. “And I think that’s the general view of all of the members of caucus who I’ve talked to about it.”

MORE

Two months after election and still no government

Two months after Sweden’s inconclusive election the country still has no government and the big winner so far is its right-wing nationalists.

It’s now facing what could be the most tumultuous week yet after the Sept. 9 vote, which saw the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats emerge as king-makers with none of the two establishment blocs emerging with a majority.

Parliament will on Wednesday vote on whether to make opposition and Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson prime minister. But with his opposition allies unlikely to back him, his path to victory is all but blocked in this round.
 
 Kristersson was on Monday formally picked by the speaker and said he will seek to form a small minority government with his Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats, which would need backing from the Sweden Democrats and the other center-right parties on key issues.

He conceded that his push for power was a long shot, since his Center and Liberal party allies declined to take part in his government.

“I don’t feel secure that I’m going to win, but I feel a duty to try,” he said at a press conference.

Fractured Parliament

Swedish elections didn’t produce a clear winner

The vote this week was forced by the speaker of parliament, Andreas Norlen, who’s trying to speed things up after two months of gridlock. The two biggest parties, the Moderates and the Social Democrats, have rejected all talk of a grand coalition, while Kristersson’s partners, the Center and Liberal parties, refuse to have anything to do with the Sweden Democrats.

The party that has grown out of Sweden’s neo-Nazi movement and captured 17.5 percent of the vote in September looks so far to be the big winner from the standoff. A recent poll by Demoskop published in Expressen showed it’s now backed by 21.1 percent of voters and the party has said it thinks it will gain from another vote.

The constitution stipulates that parliament can vote on a new prime minister four times before a snap election has to be held. While the chance of a new vote sometime next year is clearly growing, the strength of the nationalists could give the establishment second thoughts about testing the voters again.

Read More: Sweden Heads for Showdown in Parliament to Break Gridlock: Q&A

“We haven’t had a snap election since 1958 and I think it’s very unlikely,” said Peter Santesson, head of analysis at Demoskop. “I think the parties would go to extreme lengths to avoid it. Swedish political culture is that a snap election would create chaos, no one wants to be the one to cause it.”

Carl Bildt, a conservative prime minister in the early 1990s and most recently foreign minister between 2006 and 2014, said a new vote would be dangerous for democracy.

“People speak about an extra election,” he said on Twitter. “I fear it would lead many voters to turn away from politics, with lower turnout, without even solving the basic parliamentary problem.”

The talks are already at a record for Sweden and if Kristersson fails this week it would be the first time ever that a speaker proposal for a prime minister loses.

While Kristersson struggles to convince his allies, the Social Democrats are waiting in the background. Social Democratic leader Stefan Lofven has repeatedly said that he’d like to cooperate with the Center Party and Liberals, but has stopped short of clarifying what he’s be prepared to offer.

The Liberals have said a clear no to backing or taking part in a Kristersson government that relies on active or passive backing from the nationalists, while the Center party has been more circumspect. The two could abstain and let a narrower right-wing coalition through.

Center party leader Annie Loof has lobbied for a chance to see if she can forge a big coalition, but has so far been rebuffed by Kristersson.

The smaller parties are stuck between backing their allies and avoiding the nationalists.

“Whatever they do, some of their voters will get very angry,” said David Ahlin, an analyst at pollster Ipsos. “It’s going to cost them. That’s why they are trying to postpone this choice.”

 

What's wrong with the present system of government?

Why do we need to change the system? Check this video discussion. https://youtu.be/w0MvRZiWrZo

 

Horgan pledges to block one option on referendum

Premier John Horgan

1115 - From Rob Shaw, Vacnouver Sun

Premier John Horgan says he’ll instruct his NDP MLAs to block an unappealing version of one of the proportional representation models, if it wins in this month’s referendum.

Horgan told Postmedia News on Wednesday that if British Columbians vote to replace the province’s electoral system with mixed member proportional, he will order NDP MLAs to oppose the so-called closed list approach when a legislature committee decides the details of the new system.

“The direction from me will be that the members of that committee not support a closed list,” said Horgan, describing a model in which voters don’t get to select candidates from party lists. “And I think that’s the general view of all of the members of caucus who I’ve talked to about it.”

Mixed-member proportional is one of three pro-rep options available to voters on mail-in ballots. Many of the details on the options would be decided by the legislature committee after the referendum, with new ridings boundaries set by an independent boundaries commission.

READ ON

Lack of response threatens credibility of referendum

By Tom Fletcher
Black Press

Nov. 12, 2018 - Premier John Horgan is promoting B.C.’s electoral reform options as a way to improve voter participation, but a lack of returned ballots raises doubts about the credibility of the result.

More than two weeks into the mail-in voting period, and a day after Horgan’s televised debate with B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson over the three types of proportional representation being offered, only 3.7 per cent of ballots had been returned to Elections B.C.

Courtenay-Comox and Boundary-Similkameen voters had the highest response at 11 per cent by Friday, but Delta North, Maple Ridge-Mission and others had returned only a handful of ballots. A grand total of 14 Surrey-White Rock ballots were received, out of more than 42,000 mailed out to that constituency starting in late October.

Out of 3.3 million voting packages mailed out province-wide, just over 120,000 had been returned by Friday.

READ MORE: Horgan, Wilkinson square off in TV debate

WATCH VIDEO: Deadline for voting only two weeks away

In the debate, Horgan said proportional representation will appeal to those “tuned out and turned off” by the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system that gives big majorities to one party or another in many regions of B.C.

“We have seen voter turnout go down election after election after election,” Horgan said. “The best way to invigorate our system is to encourage people to participate and you do that by giving them options, giving them choices.”

In fact, turnout in the latest provincial election was up, from 57 per cent of registered voters in the 2013 election to 61 per cent in the 2017 election that resulted in an NDP minority government. And according to Elections B.C. statistics, the largest increase in participation was among voters under age 45.

The lowest turnout in B.C. general elections was in 2009, where just over 50 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, re-electing the Gordon Campbell government and rejecting for a second time a proposed “single transferable vote” method of proportional representation.

In last week’s debate, Wilkinson called the current three choices “a dog’s breakfast” that few people understand, and referred to unopened ballot packages landing in recycling bins or returned to the sender.

According to the latest public opinion poll, those who did mail in their ballots right away have been more likely to decline the choices offered by the NDP government. Insights West surveyed more than 800 B.C. residents, finding a virtual tie between FPTP and some form of proportional representation, 41 per cent to 42.

But among respondents who had already voted, 58 per cent said they chose to stick with the existing system.

Horgan pointed to recent provincial election results as demonstrating the unfairness of FPTP.

“In Quebec, 37 per cent of the vote made 100 per cent of the power,” Horgan said. “In Ontario, 40 per cent of the vote, 100 per cent of the power.”

Wilkinson used most of his time in the brief TV debate to press Horgan to explain how the options would work, particularly in larger, multi-member constituencies that would result.

“You’re asking us to change to something where we don’t know where the boundaries will be,” Wilkinson told Horgan. “We don’t know how many votes we get, we don’t know how many MLAs we’re going to have, and particularly we don’t know how these votes are going to be redistributed around the province.”

Completed ballots must be received by Elections B.C. by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, meaning they should be in the mail by Monday, Nov. 26.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Electoral Reform Referendum

Nanaimonet set up this special section to provide information on both sides of the issue. See the drop-down menus. We’ve also set up a section where you can express your vote. Click HERE if you want to keep the current system FPTP, and HERE if you want a new PR system.

Why everybody should stop hating first past the post

First past the post is the voting system everybody loves to hate. The Liberals have called it “unfair.” It was invented in a time when “people thought the Earth was flat” says Green Party leader Elizabeth May. NDP MPs have straight-up denounced the system as “illegitimate.”

First past the post, in short, is the system in which whoever gains the most votes in a riding wins the seat, even if the candidate didn’t capture a majority of those votes. There’s quite a few anti-FPTP arguments, but the general thrust is that it’s inherently unjust for Canada to be constantly ruled by governments who only scored about 40% at the ballot box.

NATIONAL POST

Proprotional Representation explained

Proportional Representation explained – somewhat. There appear to be no clear-cut answers to the question.

WATCH HERE

Even this NDP cabinet minister can’t explain Prop Rep

Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the way our electoral system would change under the proposed Proportional Representation system, you’re not alone.

Global News caught up with B,C,’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Melanie Mark on Saturday, as she urged voters in her East Vancouver riding to support the initiative.

READ MORE: British Columbians split on proportional representation, one third undecided: poll 

While Mark said Proportional Representation would be a positive change for British Columbians, she was unable to explain in detail the mechanics of how any of the three proposed systems would work if implemented.

“With all due respect I’m not an expert in this field,” Mark said. “I do have a degree in political science, but I’m not an expert in electoral representation” she added.

MORE

Helpful video explains proportional representation

Here's a helpful video to clarify the referendum, or to cast further confusion. You can watch it and make up your own mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs889F86SJE&list=PLIAxM4XC4x4nWfecNFWfCpKOwKhOfDDWE

 

Proportional Representation in B. C.

By John Feldsted
Political Consultant & Strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The basic premise of democracy is governance of the people, by the people for the people. It was conceived to avoid rule by armies, cabals, churches, gentry or kings.

 From October 22 to November 30, British Columbia residents will be asked to mail in a ballot in a Referendum on Proportional Representation. They will either vote to maintain the current First-Past-The-Post system or change to one of three proportional systems offered by the government.

Unfortunately, the only proportional systems on the ballot are ‘Party Systems’ in which parties choose some of the MLAs. There are proportional systems in which voters choose all the MLAs. Unfortunately, none of these will be on the ballot. 

In 2004, the Citizen's Assembly, a randomly chosen group of voters, looked at all forms of proportional representation. They rejected the systems in which parties choose some of the MLAs and recommended a system called STV in which citizens vote for all their MLAs. The government has chosen to limit choices to proportional systems in which parties choose some of your MLAs for you.

Any proportional representation choice will see a significant shift of power from voters to political parties. This is of grave concern.

Political party executives, governance boards and hirelings are not elected. They are not responsible to the people of British Columbia. No matter how bad their decisions or how inane their influence, they cannot be voted out or replaced. 

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, embodied in our constitution, states that:

3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein. 

British Columbians have a right to vote for an elect a member of the B. C. Legislature. There is no provision for a political party or any other entity to change the results of an electors’ choice.

Political parties are already infringing on the Charter right to be considered for office. They hold internal contests for the right to run for office in a constituency and can refuse to endorse or allow someone to run for office if they do not adhere to party rules and ideologies. They are controlling the representatives chosen by the people which is a violation of the basic premise of democracy.

Further strengthening their stranglehold over governance is not in the interests of those governed.

Political parties use the excuse that without party discipline, the legislature would be ungovernable. Anyone who has attended a session of the legislature or watched question period on television will confirm that a party disciplined legislature is a cacophony of competing interests devoid of common sense, decorum, ethics, etiquette, politeness and respect. British Columbians deserve much better.

The major proponents of proportional representation are minority political parties who claim that because they achieved 2% or 5% of the popular vote, they are entitled to a similar proportion of the seats in the legislature. 

A quick look at the 2017 BC election results shows: 

 

 

2017 BC RESULTS

PARTY

ELECT

PROP

Liberal

43

35

NDP

41

35

Green

3

15

Other

-

1

Indep.

-

1

 

87

87

Redistribution by popular vote would favour the green party, but raises three important questions: 

  1. Which 12 electoral districts that did not elect a green party member would have their elected representative tossed?
  2. How will one person represent the 16 different ‘other’ parties involved?
  3. Which independent candidate will be awarded a seat (31 ran) and who will he or she replace?

Political parties are incapable of working out how proportional representation will operate in the best interests of the people they claim to serve. Following an election, the public can look forward to months of party bickering over how the spoils will be divided while the legislature sits empty. If that rocks your boat, vote for a change, but remember:

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

 

“Democracy is not a spectator sport, it's a participatory event. Every election is determined by the people who show up.”

The battle over acronyms in the Prop Rep referendum

From the New Westminister Record

So, you thought you were finished with voting?

  
You thought you were done having to research in order to make an informed decision?

You were mistaken.

Welcome to the exciting world of the referendum on proportional representation (we’re not being sarcastic; it really is exciting to take part in such an important referendum) – also known as prop rep.

Or simply, PR.

Ballots have been sent out and include two questions – the first will ask whether B.C. should switch from the current first-past-the-post election system (FPTP) to a system of proportional representation; the second question asks voters to rank three systems of proportional representation.

It’s important to get to know all the acronyms involved with PR because there are a few for the different systems being looked at to have PR replace our current voting system FPTP (hey, another acronym).

There is mixed-member proportional (MMP), dual member proportional (DMP) and rural-urban proportional (RUP). If you do want to ditch FPTP, study up on these three options. 

This isn’t the first time B.C. voters have been asked about switching from the current FPTP electoral system to a form of proportional representation – referendums in 2005 and 2009 were both defeated (a previous recommended systems was the single-transferable vote – also known as STV).

Voting packages are set start arriving in mailboxes across the province between now and Nov. 2. Completed ballots must be returned to Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.

Complicating things are the rotating strikes from Canada Post workers.

Chief electoral officer Anton Boegman said earlier this week that the labour dispute at Canada Post is being watched closely by Elections BC for any potential impact during the mail-in referendum period. He expects the delivery of 3.3 million voter packages and ballots to be complete by Nov. 2.

Boegman has the authority to add extra time to the deadline, which was done in 2011 when the voting period for a referendum on the harmonized sales tax was extended by two weeks due to a lockout at Canada Post. Packages are also being sent internationally to registered voters who are temporarily away from their homes in B.C.

Anyone who does not receive a package by Nov. 2 can request one by calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 or online at elections.bc.ca/ovr. The deadline to request a voting package is Nov. 23.

For more details, visit elections.bc.ca/referendum.

So, that’s a quick rundown on how the referendum works. Now all you have to do is some research and fill out the ballot.

Three options are being considered for Prop Rep

Just when you thought we were done with voting, the ballots in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform will start going out to households across the province this week. But what exactly are we being asked to vote on?

The ballot will include two questions — the first will ask whether B.C. should switch from the current first-past-the-post election system to a system of proportional representation; the second question asks voters to rank three systems of proportional representation.

So, what is proportional representation and how does it work? The Courier spoke to Richard Johnston, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia.

MORE

The questiions on Proportional Representation

From Global TV

This fall British Columbians will have a chance to vote on electoral reform.

On Wednesday, Attorney General David Eby presented a report to the provincial cabinet that includes recommendations on what the questions should be for the upcoming referendum.

Eby is recommending two separate questions.

  1. Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly? 
    • The current First Past the Post voting system
    • A proportional representation voting system
  2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? 
    • Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
    • Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
    • Rural-Urban PR

On the first question, British Columbians can only vote for one option and the winner needs 50 per cent of the vote plus one.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Attorney General recommending 2 ballot questions for electoral reform referendum 

On the second question, British Columbians can rank the three choices or select one, two or three options. If none of the three gets a majority of first-choice votes, then the option that receives the fewest first-choice votes is dropped from further consideration.

Elections BC will be responsible for providing information to the public on the different systems, including the current first-past-the-post system (FPTP). For now, the best explanations of the possible electoral systems are contained inside an informational binder handed over to cabinet.

Dual Member Proportional (DMP)

This system of proportional representation (PR) is described as the most basic one being proposed.

In DMP most of B.C.’s existing ridings would be merged with a neighbouring riding to create two member districts.

The largest rural districts would remain unchanged as single-member ridings. Political parties would nominate up to two candidates per electoral district.

In an election, one seat in a dual-member district would go to the candidate who got the most votes, as under the current system. But the second seat would be allocated based on province-wide voting results and the individual districts.

This system tends to have proportional results province-wide, but not necessarily in each district. Independent candidates are elected if they place first or second in an electoral district.

READ MORE: More fair? Or less accountable? The cases for and against proportional representation in B.C. 

Where it can get complicated is who wins the second seat in this model. The runner-up in an electoral district may not receive the second seat because it would be distributed to achieve province-wide proportionality.

“DMP is a relatively simple system to understand and for voters to use,” reads the submission. “The election ballot would change little from the current voting system.”

This model would see between the current 87 and 95 MLAs. A political party must receive at least five per cent of the province-wide vote to be eligible for the second seat in any district.

WATCH HERE: What are the possible B.C. electoral reform referendum questions?

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)

This system combines elements of the current first-past-the-post system and ‘List PR’ systems that allocate seats on a regional or provincial level.

The system would create two different types of MLAs: those who are elected directly in a riding, and those elected or chosen regionally from parties’ lists.

The total number of seats a party gets in the legislature is based on how that party does in the province-wide vote. After all of the MLAs in traditional ridings are decided, the number of seats a party gets in the legislature is ‘topped up’ from the their party list so that their percentage of seats matches the percentage of votes they won.

The actual representatives who fill the List PR seats are either elected directly or allocated from the parties’ list of candidates. Those lists could be either open or closed to the public.

It is likely this system would see the current number of electoral districts reduced do make way for the List PR seats. At least 60 per cent of the total seats would be from the traditional single-member electoral districts.

“MMP also provides for a relatively simple ballot with the possibility for voters to vote directly for candidates for both FPTP and List PR seats,” reads the submission. “MMP could be implemented with either no increase or a modest increase to the size of the Legislative Assembly.”

Like the Dual Member system, MMP would include between the current 87 members and 95 members. The List PR seats would be allocated within defined regions. No region would have fewer MLAs than it currently does and a political party must receive at least five per cent of the province-wide vote to be eligible to receive List PR seats. Voters could have one vote, counting for both the local candidate and the List PR allocation, or two votes.

Elections BC would have to make some decisions on the list such as determining whether the order of candidates on the List PR ballot should be randomized or not.

Rural-Urban PR

This would be a mixed voting system that elects MLAs in two ways.

Single Transferable Vote (STV), a type of ranked voting, would be used in urban and semi-urban areas, and the mixed member proportional system described above would be used in rural areas.

This is the most complex of the three proposed systems of PR. Rural-Urban PR is currently not used anywhere as a single integrated system.

The system would ensure proportionality in most areas of the province.

READ MORE: Opposition leaders in Quebec want to change the way you vote 

Local representation in rural areas would be maintained with small to medium impact on the size of existing electoral districts.

The system would provide less proportional results in rural areas than in urban areas. The system could also see a high percentage of independent representatives, with more of them elected in STV regions.

“Rural-Urban PR was developed to address the varied geographic and demographic needs of voters in the urban and rural areas of Canada,” reads the submission. “It can provide some proportionality in the most rural areas of the province while retaining comparable levels of local representation for those voters.”

Like the other systems, the number of MLAs would be between the current 87 and 95. The MMP regions would contain the same rules as the proposed MMP system for the entire province. The STV regions would use elements recommended by the previous Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

READ MORE: Ottawa cuts short election reform debate to rush bill through before 2019 vote 

First Past The Post

This is the current electoral system in British Columbia.

Each electoral district picks one MLA, and the candidate with the most votes becomes the riding’s representative.

The system does not produce proportional results, with parties getting around 40 per cent of the vote holding all the power in government.

Although the 2017 provincial election was a different story, this system often produces single-party majority governments.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mixed member representation

This fall British Columbians will have a chance to vote on electoral reform.

On Wednesday, Attorney General David Eby presented a report to the provincial cabinet that includes recommendations on what the questions should be for the upcoming referendum.

Eby is recommending two separate questions.

  1. Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly? 
    • The current First Past the Post voting system
    • A proportional representation voting system
  2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? 
    • Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
    • Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
    • Rural-Urban PR

On the first question, British Columbians can only vote for one option and the winner needs 50 per cent of the vote plus one.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Attorney General recommending 2 ballot questions for electoral reform referendum 

On the second question, British Columbians can rank the three choices or select one, two or three options. If none of the three gets a majority of first-choice votes, then the option that receives the fewest first-choice votes is dropped from further consideration.

 

But what do those systems actually mean?

Elections BC will be responsible for providing information to the public on the different systems, including the current first-past-the-post system (FPTP). For now, the best explanations of the possible electoral systems are contained inside an informational binder handed over to cabinet.

Dual Member Proportional (DMP)

This system of proportional representation (PR) is described as the most basic one being proposed.

In DMP most of B.C.’s existing ridings would be merged with a neighbouring riding to create two member districts.

The largest rural districts would remain unchanged as single-member ridings. Political parties would nominate up to two candidates per electoral district.

In an election, one seat in a dual-member district would go to the candidate who got the most votes, as under the current system. But the second seat would be allocated based on province-wide voting results and the individual districts.

This system tends to have proportional results province-wide, but not necessarily in each district. Independent candidates are elected if they place first or second in an electoral district.

READ MORE: More fair? Or less accountable? The cases for and against proportional representation in B.C. 

Where it can get complicated is who wins the second seat in this model. The runner-up in an electoral district may not receive the second seat because it would be distributed to achieve province-wide proportionality.

“DMP is a relatively simple system to understand and for voters to use,” reads the submission. “The election ballot would change little from the current voting system.”

This model would see between the current 87 and 95 MLAs. A political party must receive at least five per cent of the province-wide vote to be eligible for the second seat in any district.

WATCH HERE: What are the possible B.C. electoral reform referendum questions?

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)

This system combines elements of the current first-past-the-post system and ‘List PR’ systems that allocate seats on a regional or provincial level.

The system would create two different types of MLAs: those who are elected directly in a riding, and those elected or chosen regionally from parties’ lists.

The total number of seats a party gets in the legislature is based on how that party does in the province-wide vote. After all of the MLAs in traditional ridings are decided, the number of seats a party gets in the legislature is ‘topped up’ from the their party list so that their percentage of seats matches the percentage of votes they won.

The actual representatives who fill the List PR seats are either elected directly or allocated from the parties’ list of candidates. Those lists could be either open or closed to the public.

It is likely this system would see the current number of electoral districts reduced do make way for the List PR seats. At least 60 per cent of the total seats would be from the traditional single-member electoral districts.

“MMP also provides for a relatively simple ballot with the possibility for voters to vote directly for candidates for both FPTP and List PR seats,” reads the submission. “MMP could be implemented with either no increase or a modest increase to the size of the Legislative Assembly.”

Like the Dual Member system, MMP would include between the current 87 members and 95 members. The List PR seats would be allocated within defined regions. No region would have fewer MLAs than it currently does and a political party must receive at least five per cent of the province-wide vote to be eligible to receive List PR seats. Voters could have one vote, counting for both the local candidate and the List PR allocation, or two votes.

Elections BC would have to make some decisions on the list such as determining whether the order of candidates on the List PR ballot should be randomized or not.

Rural-Urban PR

This would be a mixed voting system that elects MLAs in two ways.

Single Transferable Vote (STV), a type of ranked voting, would be used in urban and semi-urban areas, and the mixed member proportional system described above would be used in rural areas.

This is the most complex of the three proposed systems of PR. Rural-Urban PR is currently not used anywhere as a single integrated system.

The system would ensure proportionality in most areas of the province.

READ MORE: Opposition leaders in Quebec want to change the way you vote 

Local representation in rural areas would be maintained with small to medium impact on the size of existing electoral districts.

The system would provide less proportional results in rural areas than in urban areas. The system could also see a high percentage of independent representatives, with more of them elected in STV regions.

“Rural-Urban PR was developed to address the varied geographic and demographic needs of voters in the urban and rural areas of Canada,” reads the submission. “It can provide some proportionality in the most rural areas of the province while retaining comparable levels of local representation for those voters.”

Like the other systems, the number of MLAs would be between the current 87 and 95. The MMP regions would contain the same rules as the proposed MMP system for the entire province. The STV regions would use elements recommended by the previous Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

READ MORE: Ottawa cuts short election reform debate to rush bill through before 2019 vote 

First Past The Post

This is the current electoral system in British Columbia.

Each electoral district picks one MLA, and the candidate with the most votes becomes the riding’s representative.

The system does not produce proportional results, with parties getting around 40 per cent of the vote holding all the power in government.

Although the 2017 provincial election was a different story, this system often produces single-party majority governments.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Dual Member

Dual Member proportional voting is the first of three systems that will be listed on the ballot in BC’s upcoming referendum.  The Dual Member system is a modern take on the two-member riding system that Prince Edward Island has used for most of its history (until the mid-1990s) and was one of two options on the ballot in PEI’s 2016 plebiscite on voting reform.  Since BC also used multi-member ridings until the 1990s, Dual Member also echoes our own voting history.

How it Works

With Dual Member voting, BC’s current single-member districts would be paired to create half as many dual-member ridings, so the number of MLAs would be unchanged. The Attorney General also recommended that a small number of the rural ridings remain single member ridings.

All candidates would run in their local dual-member riding.  The ballot would be very similar to what we currently use, except that parties would have the option to list two candidates instead of one, and voters would check one box on the ballot, just as we do now.

The first seat in every paired riding would go to the first candidate of the party with the most votes.  The second seat would go to one of the remaining candidates in such a way that the overall seat share closely matches the vote share by party.

 

Example

As an example of how this might work in practice, consider what could happen on Vancouver Island. Currently, there are 14 seats on the Island, so we would end up with seven paired ridings, each with two MLAs.

In the 2017 provincial election, BC NDP candidates earned about 40% of the vote on the Island, and the BC Liberal and BC Green candidates each earned about 30%.  Our current system elected 10 NDP MLAs, 3 Green MLAs and 1 Liberal MLA; a proportional result would have been 6 NDP, 4 Green, and 4 Liberal MLAs.

Using Dual Member, we likely would have seen 6 NDP MLAs and 1 Green MLA elected to the 7 first seats in the paired ridings.  This means that to balance out the results, the second seats would have gone to four BC Liberal MLAs and 3 Green MLAs.

The MLAs elected to the second seats would generally be elected in their areas of greatest strength. BC Liberal MLAs would likely have been elected in the northern half of the Island, while the Green MLAs would likely have been elected primarily in the southern part of the Island.

You might like the Dual Member option if you like the idea of keeping a ballot that’s very similar to what we use now, and which will give you two local MLAs (typically from different parties).

Like the two other systems on the ballot, Dual Member would deliver strong proportionality, preserve the same number of MLAs in each region of the province as we have now, and would allow voters to vote for specific candidates.  And if we aren’t happy with it, there will be another referendum after we’ve used it for two elections to decide if we want to stick with it.

You can find more details at dmpforcanada.com

Voters guide for referendum

Voter’s Guide


Elections BC is mailing a referendum voter’s guide to every household in B.C. between October 15 and 26, 2018. The guide covers how to vote in the referendum and information about all four voting systems on the referendum ballot.

What can I do now to get ready for the referendum?


Make sure your voter information is up to date, especially if you’ve never registered to vote, moved recently, or changed your name. This will help make sure you get your referendum voting package in the mail between October 22 and November 2, 2018. You can make sure your voter information is up to date by:

You can also get informed to help make your decision. Refer to the neutral information on our website about the characteristics of each voting system on the ballot, and get information from all sides in the debate.

The Attorney General of British Columbia released a recommendations report about the referendum and the voting systems on the ballot. Read the report here.

Who can vote in the referendum?


You can vote in the referendum if you are:

  • a Canadian citizen,
  • 18 or older as of November 30, 2018, and
  • a resident of B.C. for at least six months immediately before November 30, 2018.

 

David Eby, Attorney General, has released a report detailing the results of the citizen engagement on electoral reform, which informed his 18 recommendations to cabinet for how the fall 2018 referendum should be structured. 

The public engagement ran for 14 weeks, ending Feb. 28, 2018, and drew 180,000 visits to the “How We Vote” website, with a record 91,725 questionnaires completed. Another 1,101 questionnaires were completed by a panel selected to represent B.C.’s demographic mix to provide a base for comparison to the website respondents. Substantive written submissions were received by 46 organizations and 208 individuals. 

The report released today contains a comprehensive breakdown of results, and analysis of the recommendations by the attorney general.

“British Columbians made their voices and their values heard, and it was important we gave them the opportunity to direct how this referendum should work,” said Eby. “This input has provided us a firm footing for the recommendations I am putting forward to cabinet. While the engagement marked a first step in involving the public more meaningfully in our democratic process, ultimately, British Columbians, through the referendum, will determine how we vote in B.C.”

The attorney general’s recommendations to cabinet cover all aspects of the fall 2018 referendum, which will decide whether B.C. keeps its current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system or moves to a system of proportional representation (PR).

The report recommends that the referendum ballot include two questions:

1.   Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly (Vote for only one.):

  • The current First Past the Post voting system
  • A proportional representation voting system

2.   If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? (Vote for the voting systems you wish to support by ranking them in order of preference. You may choose to support one, two or all three of the systems.):

  •  Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
  •  Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
  •  Rural-Urban PR

If a majority of responses to the first question vote to adopt a proportional representation voting system, then responses to the second question would determine which system is implemented in British Columbia.

The report’s key recommendations also include that:

  • The referendum campaign period begin July 1, 2018, and end by Nov. 30, 2018.
  • The referendum voting period (by mail-in ballot) run Oct. 22, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2018.
  • The chief electoral officer, who is independent of government, provide neutral and factual information to voters about the referendum, including voting systems on the ballot.
  • The chief electoral officer select one designated group to advocate on behalf of retaining the current FPTP voting system, and one to advocate on behalf of PR, using a selection process similar to the 2009 referendum on electoral reform.
  • If voters decide to adopt a proportional representation system, a second referendum be held following two general elections, where voters would decide to keep the new system or return to FPTP.

The report describes the three proportional representation systems to be included on the ballot, which correspond to the engagement with British Columbians. If a proportional system is adopted, it must include a set of features, including:

  • No significant increase in the size of the legislature.
  • No region of the province having fewer MLAs than it currently has.
  • No political party being eligible to receive a seat if they receive less than 5% of the overall vote in the province or region.

Eby presented the report with recommendations to the public, prior to delivering it to cabinet for deliberation.

Learn More:

How We Vote Report and Recommendations:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/271/2018/05/How-We-Vote-2018-Electoral-Reform-Referendum-Report-and-Recommendations-of-the-Attorney-General.pdf