Friday, September 12, 2008

What is BC-STV?

BC-STV is basically the BC version of the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system, which is a form of preferential voting. It was designed to produce proportional representation meaning that the results of an election, i.e. seats won, would more closely mirror the percentages of votes cast. Another design goal is to ensure that election winning candidates do so with a majority vote, more accurately reflecting voter preferences.

The recommendation to switch to this system of voting from our current system (known as plurality voting) was first made by the Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. The decision to accept this recommendation was put to a referendum during the last provincial election in 2005. Unfortunately, it failed to get the required supermajority (60%), missing by only 2%. However, it can be argued that this was largely due to a lack of awareness as a lot of people went to the voting booth either not really understanding STV or not even being aware that a referendum was being held.

The good news is that because of the close result, we will be having another opportunity to vote on this very important issue. Hopefully, we’ll be able to use the time to raise awareness about STV as it has been consistently shown that when people who are introduced to STV and feel that they understand it, the vast majority of them are willing to vote for it.

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