Why we might want it
What the“YES”People Are Saying:
It is more“fair”than the current system (a party that
gets 50% of the votes will get closer to 50% of the
seats than before).
It will lead to more women and minorities being
nominated as candidates and then being elected.
It will lead to weaker parties and stronger individual
It is not completely “fair” and maybe we should
wait for a proposal that is completely
There is no proof that this will happen under the
Again,there is no proof of this. Ireland uses STV
and has very strong parties.
What the“NO”People Are Saying:
It is too complicated and most voters will not be able
to understand it. Voters need a system that they can
trust, and they can only trust a system that they
It will lead to the rural areas being under-represented
because rural ridings will be very large and all
candidates in will live in the biggest city in that riding.
We should use an MMP (Mixed-Member Proportional)
system rather than STV since it delivers proportional
Voting under BC-STV is very easy.Counting the
ballots is more complicated, but trained, nonpartisan
election officials will be doing that part.
There is no proof that this will happen. Parties
will probably field candidates from all over the
riding to increase their chances of success.
The proportional results come at the cost of local
representation (voting for individual MLAs rather
than parties), so MMP systems were evaluated
Majority vs. Minority Governments
Both sides agree that under the proposed BC-STV there will likely be fewer majority governments and more
minority and coalition governments. For some people this is a good thing,for others it is a cause for concern.
Some say a majority government is more “effective” because it can put through legislation more easily.
Others say it is more “dangerous” because it can put through legislation that a sizeable minority of the
population opposes.A minority government has to make more deals and more compromises. Some people
think this is a good thing, other people think it is not.
What Do All Those Words Mean?
Seat: A seat in the legislature, occupied by an elected MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly).
Candidate: A politician hoping to be elected to a seat in the legislature.
Riding: A geographic region of the province.A candidate runs in a riding, and hopes to get enough votes
to be elected to a seat in the legislature.
Candidate List: Under some electoral systems, a party creates a list of candidates hoping for a seat in the
legislature.A candidate on the list may also run in a particular riding, and if they are elected in that riding
then they are taken off the list (since they now have a seat).
FPTP: Our present electoral system is a“First Past the Post”system, in which each riding contains one seat
and the candidate who gets most votes wins the seat for the riding.The advantage of FPTP is that it is very
simple.The disadvantage is that it can be disproportional — a party that gets 51% of the votes in each
riding may win every seat in the legislature even though they only had 51% of the popular vote.
MMP: The committee considered and then rejected the“Mixed Member Proportional”system.Under this
system a about half of the seats are elected directy by voters in the various ridings,with one seat per riding.
The percentage of the populare vote that each party received is then calculated, and also the percentage of
seats that they won.A moderately simple mathematical system is then used to distribute the other half of
the seats from the various parties’ candidate lists so that each party ends up with a proportion of seats that
equals their proportion of the popular vote.The advantage of MMP is that it is completely proportional — a
party that gets 51% of the popular vote will end up with 51% of the seats in the legislature.The
disadvantage is that it is not local — half of the seats are not associated with any particular riding, and the
MLAs in those seats are not accountable to any particular part of the province.
STV: The proposed system uses a“Single Transferable Vote.” Each riding has several seats, and rather than
voting for a single candidate, you rank the candidates in your order of preference.A moderately complicated
mathematical system is then used to figure out which candidates will win the seats.The advantage of STV is
that it is more proportional than FPTP (with the proportionality going up the more seats there are in each
riding) and more local than MMP (with the localness going down the more geographic area a riding covers).
The disadvantage is that although voting is simple, counting the ballots is complicated.