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2018 BC Referendum on Electoral Reform

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This November BC voters have the duty and opportunity to vote on how we vote. This is BC’s third referendum on voting reform, and also the one with the most options.

What voting systems is BC choosing between?

The first question of the referendum is between keeping the current system: known as First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and switching to a Proportional Representation voting system. The second question BC voters will be asked is to rank 3 PR systems. Mail-in ballots will be mailed out between Oct 22 and Nov 2.

What is Proportional Representation?

Proportional Representation systems try to guarantee that if 70% of votes in BC are for party A, 70% of BC’s legislature is filled with MLAs from party A.

What are the pros and cons for Proportional Representation?

The official proponent of PR is Fair Voting BC. The official opposition is No ProRep BC. The opposition site has more catchphrases than arguments… so here’s a stronger summary of arguments against PR (see the PR minuses).

Which Proportional Representation systems are we ranking and how do they function?

Watch this video for a quick explanation of the 3 types of proportional voting systems on B.C.’s ballot

How do they compare to each other?

The best comparison of these voting systems is the Fair Voting BC Scorecard. I highly recommend reading through it and weighing the different pros and cons of each system yourself.

What will you vote for?

I’m in favour of Proportional Representation. Based on the scorecard my ranking of the 3 proposed PR systems is:

  1. Mixed Member Proportional (simple ballot, and you can vote on individual candidates)
  2. Dual Member Proportional (simple ballot, but you only pick the party, they pick which of multiple candidates it counts towards)
  3. Rural-Urban Proportional (Single Transferable Vote lets you vote for individual candidates but ranking a dozen candidates is hard)

If you had the option to pick a different voting system entirely, what would you pick?

Range Voting. It doesn't have Proportional Representation but it has other benefits (it’s expressive, resistant to vote splitting, incentivizes honest voting, neither pro-centrist nor pro-extremist).

Actually, there’s a version of range voting that does have Proportional Representation called Re-Weighted Range Voting that looks interesting. But that’s for another day.

Update Nov 10

I’ve submitted my vote. Have you submitted yours? Remember that they must be mailed before Nov 30th!