Today’s Poll

Getting down to crunch time in Proportional Representation Referendum

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
November 21st, 2018

It’s getting down to crunch time in the Proportional Representation Referendum.

And both sides in the referendum are pulling out all stops to sway the electorate into voting for the move to proportional representation or against and remain with the current First Past the Post system.

British Columbians started receiving their voting packages from Elections BC starting on October 22 with the deadline November 30, 2018, to vote in the referendum. Eligible voters have until midnight Friday (November 23, 2018) to request a package

To request a ballot package, voters must provide name, date of birth, address and one of the following identification numbers:

  • BC driver’s licence number
  • BC Identification car number
  • Last six digits of Social Insurance number or,
  • Last six digits of Personal Health number

The ballot asks two questions.

The first question voters must decide on whether to remain with the existing first-past-the-post system — where 87 ridings are represented by a single MLA who the top vote winner in the election is — or change to proportional representation. Voters are also being asked to rank three different proportional representation systems.

Voters can answer one or both questions and can rank the following three representation systems even if they vote no to change. Under all the proportional representation systems, more ridings could be added, up to a total of 95.

• Dual member proportional: Most single-MLA ridings are combined with a neighbouring riding to form two-MLA ridings. A few large, rural ridings continue to be represented by a single MLA. This dual member system has not been used anywhere in the world.

• Mixed member proportional: Sixty per cent of the MLAs are directly elected under the first-past-the-post system in ridings and the other 40 per cent of seats are distributed to ensure seat totals reflect the popular vote. (This system is used in countries such as Germany and New Zealand.)

• Rural-urban proportional: Combines two different systems for urban and rural parts of B.C. The urban ridings use a single transferable vote system, where candidates are ranked on a single ballot in large ridings. The candidate with the fewest votes is dropped and votes redistributed to the second choice on each ballot. The process continues until a candidate has 50 per cent plus one of the votes. (This system is used in countries such as Ireland.) The rural ridings are determined using the mixed member system.  

The referendum will decide if British Columbia keeps the current First Past the Post voting system or adopts a proportional representation voting system.

If more than half the votes support First Past the Post on the first question, the voting system will stay the same.

If more than half the votes support proportional representation on the first question, the proportional system with the most support on the second question will be adopted.

This is the third referendum in 18 years. The first two failed to meet the threshold for change. In 2005, 57.7 per cent voted in favour of proportional representation, which was just under the government’s 60 per cent hurdle. In 2009, support for pro-rep dropped to 39 per cent.

As of November 20, Elections BC website said 11.4 per cent of the BC Electorate had voted with 17.8 recorded in the Nelson-Creston riding.

Categories: General

Other News Stories