Sunday, December 28, 2008

More evidence that BC-STV is not too complicated

I discussed in my Criticism #1 post of how BC-STV was simple enough that twelve year old children were able to use it without any problems. Here is another article that again illustrates that BC-STV is so easy to use that children were able to use it to vote for their favourite reindeer. Honestly, what are people so frightened of? How people can continue to be cowed and scared into such hysterical hand wringing and apprehension by the naysayers is beyond me.

STV voting is child's play

Wanda Chow, Burnaby NewsLeader, November 26

Children had no trouble voting for their favourite reindeer after the Edmonds Santa Claus Parade Saturday, even when using the single transferable vote system (STV).

In fact, interest was so strong it may bode well for consistently low voter turnouts in elections.

Then again, Santa's reindeer may be easier to choose from than politicians.

For the record, Dasher and Cupid came out on top as the reindeer voters most wanted to lead Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. Out of 73 ballots entered, mostly by kids with some adults, only two were ruled invalid.

Nevertheless, organizers of the vote say they proved their point, that the STV system is so easy a child could use it.

Iain Macanulty of STV proponent Fair Voting Burnaby/New Westminster said in 2005 a provincial referendum saw only 58 per cent of voters in support of the STV system, just short of the 60 per cent required to implement it. The belief is that the result was due to a lack of publicity of STV.

So the province agreed to allow the system to go to referendum again as part of the next provincial election May 12.

STV was the system chosen by the BC Citizens' Assembly, formed amid the outcry at the results of the 2001 provincial election, when the Liberals came away with 77 seats to the NDP's two, a result of the current first-past-the-post system.

STV is used to elect different levels of governments in Ireland, Malta, Australia and some municipalities. It counts more of people's votes, and more than 80 per cent of voters would get one of their top choices, said Macanulty.

It works this way: B.C.'s 85 ridings would be combined into 20, with each riding represented by more than one MLA. For example, Burnaby's four constituencies would merge with New Westminster's one to create one new riding represented by five MLAs.

People would vote by marking candidates in order of preference. To be elected, a candidate must receive a minimum percentage of the vote, determined by the number of seats available to be won in a particular riding.

Voters' first choices are counted and those meeting the minimum are elected. Of the rest, the bottom performers are dropped off and then second choices are counted, and so on, until all the seats are filled.

Macanulty noted a significant number of people vote across party lines. And the new system would allow people to vote for less-established parties like the Greens, without worrying that they're throwing their vote away.

As for the reindeer vote, he said children were crowding around Fair Voting's table before it had been completely set up. "You hardly had to tell them anything," he said.

"Dasher won in the first round-he was most popular by far," he said. "Cupid was second on the first round but not enough to be elected."

Dasher, Prancer and Blitzen were quite popular as well. After the second round, Comet dropped off the ballot. But in the end, after second and third choices were tabulated, Cupid grabbed second spot.

"Cupid was in second place and ran a good race and beat out the other reindeer," Macanulty said, stifling a laugh.

As for the two spoiled ballots, they were ruled invalid because they had two reindeer marked as first choices. There's no indication whether it was a child or adult who filled it out, he said.

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