Letter: Voting system should give power to the people

Kelowna letter-writer says electoral reform will give people much needed power

To the editor:

Re: Electoral reform question complex, Capital News, March 9.

I would like to clarify as a former member of the Citizen’s Assembly that we did not recommend AV or the Alternative Vote system that was used in B.C. in the 1950’s. The only similarities between the system BC-STV that we did recommend and AV is that both systems use a preferential ballot system. After that the systems work in stark contrast to one another.

The AV system is a majoritarian system, designed to achieve similar results as our current first past the post system. It works best when only two parties are involved in the election and one of the primary goals of the electoral system is to funnel votes to form a 50 plus one winner in each race or riding. The system is geared to create a majority government (or one winner) that is the same reason it is often used in leadership races by political parties.

BC-STV is a proportional system that uses the preferential ballot in multi-member districts to create multiple winners for a region. Being a proportional system rather than a majoritarian system, it is designed to create proportional results rather than channeling votes to form a majority.

I agree with Mr. Boyd, “No one system of voting is ideal and electoral reform can be complicated and somewhat difficult to propose.” But if his implying that there are parallels between BC-STV and AV electoral systems then I must clarify that he is completely off the mark.

Mr. Boyd also makes claim that BC-STV failed to find sufficient support in province-wide referendums held in 2005 and 2009. I remind everyone that BC-STV had 57.9 per cent support in 2005, but failed to reach the threshold of 60 per cent. The upcoming referendum needs to be 50 per cent plus one, as it should have been in 2005. There is significant support for this system, as many have discovered BC-STV offers many benefits to voters and will help swing the power of the vote away from the parties and back to the voters in each constituent.

Harley Nyen,

Former Member of the Citizens Assembly on electoral reform

Kelowna

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