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Fair Ballot on Electoral Reform


Later this year British Columbians will be asked to make a vital decision about changes to how we elect our Members of the Legislative Assembly. Attorney General David Eby has proposed a referendum process that would be most likely to result in his government's preferred outcome.

Is David Eby trying to manipulate British Columbians?

David Eby has proposed two ballot questions:

Question 1

The first question will ask you to choose between our current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system and the concept of Proportional Representation.

Question 2

The second question asks you to rank three very different types of Proportional Representation voting systems in order of preference.

A vote in question one for the concept of Proportional Representation is actually a vote in support of all three proposed voting systems in question two.

Four Proponents Equally Funded

Fund all 4 Voting Systems

According to David Eby's proposal, $500,000 in funding would go to two proponents: pro-Proportional Representation and pro-First Past the Post.

The problem is that Proportional Representation is being treated as one voting system, but really, it is a concept that in this case is made up of three voting systems; Dual Member Proportional, Mixed Member Proportional, Rural-Urban Proportional Representation.

Dual Member Proportional and Rural-Urban Proportional Representation are David Eby's experimental voting systems that have never been used anywhere in the world. Before British Columbians embark on one of David Eby's proposed experimental voting systems, we deserve to learn more about them, and all four choices equally.

Why is David Eby muzzling the proponents of Mixed Member Proportional, Dual Member Proportional and Rural-Urban Proportional Representation?

This is the current voting system in British Columbia. Its formal name is Single Member Plurality. Each electoral district elects a single MLA and voters vote for one candidate only. It is a system in which the candidate who gets the most votes in an electoral district (i.e. a plurality) wins and represents that district in the legislature.
Dual Member Proportional is a proportional voting system in which most of the province's existing single-member electoral districts would be amalgamated with a second neighbouring district to create two-member districts. The largest rural districts could remain unchanged as single-member districts.
MMP combines single-member electoral districts elected under FPTP with List PR seats allocated on a regional or provincial level. The overall share of seats each party holds in the Legislative Assembly is determined by the party's share of the province-wide vote. Candidates who fill the List PR seats are either elected directly or allocated from the parties' lists of candidates to compensate for any disproportional results from the FPTP vote, so that the overall provincial result is fairly proportional. MMP is in use in a number of other countries at the national or sub-national level.
Rural-Urban PR consists of multi-member districts with seats filled using STV in urban and semi-urban areas and MMP in the most rural areas. In the MMP regions, a small number of List PR seats are filled proportionally on a regional basis in order to provide some proportionality for those regions. Rural-Urban PR is not used anywhere as a single integrated system. However, STV is used in several countries at the national and sub-national level, and was proposed by the British Columbia Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2004, and MMP is in use in a number of other countries at the national or sub-national level.
Voting Systems

Binding Majority Result

A Majority Should Decide the Outcome

The Referendum Act states that the result would be binding if 50%+1 vote in favour of a particular outcome. If the majority of British Columbians vote to move to Proportional Representation in question one, they have not voted on an outcome. The outcome would only be determined by responses to question two.

By having two ballot questions, David Eby has found a way to avoid meeting the 50%+1 threshold in the Referendum Act. If British Columbians vote in favour of the concept of Proportional Representation, the voting system could be changed based on the votes of just 35% of British Columbian voters.

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