All About BC-STV
Q and A
Citizens’ Assembly

Got A Question?

Why we might want it

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 candidates.

But:
It is not completely “fair” and maybe we should wait for a proposal that is completely proportional.
There is no proof that this will happen under the proposed system.
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 understand.
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 results.

But:
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 and rejected.


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.
 

How BC-STV works
Letter
Problems

Against BC-STV?

E-mail

All About BC-STV's History © 2000-2019 www.bc-stv.ca