EDITORIAL: Knowing your proportional representation options

After weeks and months of discussion about proportional representation, I have finally received my voting ballot in the mail.

Maybe you have received it, too.

Hopefully, you already know all about it and exactly how you’re going to vote, but I doubt this is the case for most people. Admittedly, I am still unsure about where to place my vote.

But either way, there are two questions on the ballot you are able to vote for. The first question asks you if you’d like to vote and keep the current first past the post system, or if you’d like to try out the proportional representation voting system.

No matter which option you vote for, you can still answer the second question, asking whether you would prefer dual member proportional, mixed member proportional, or rural-urban proportional. And, you can rank these from your most preferred to your least preferred.

Dual member proportional means that most electoral districts would be combined with a neighbouring districts and represented by two members of legislative assemby (MLAs). The total number of MLAs stays relatively the same. So basically, this options shows that parties can have one or two candidates on the ballot, outlining who is first and who is second. Voters would then choose the party they want, and those candidates would be elected.

In mixed member, there are two types of MLAs. District MLAs represent the electoral districts, and regional MLAs represent groups of those districts. They are elected from a party list, which should represent the correlating share of the province-wide vote. If mixed member representation is chosen, the legislature will have to decide whether voters will choose one candidate that also counts for their party, or if two votes will be taken for the candidate and separately for the party.

Rural-urban representation means voters in urban and semi-urban districts will decide on candidates using a single transferrable vote. This system is supposedly likely to be generally proportional across the province. Parties can run multiple candidates in a district, and voters rank their preferred candidates.

Those are just the cole’s notes on the different systems. It is a lot of information to go through, so to make your best educated vote, go to www.elections.bc.ca.

All of these options are being pushed as better than the first past the post system B.C. currently has in place. Basically, proportional representation means that if a party gets 30 per cent of the votes, they get 30 per cent of seats in the legislature. First past the post means the candidate who receives the most votes wins, but does not ensure that others who received votes are represented. So, make an informed decision. Whether you are in favour or against proportional representation, you can help shape the way B.C. votes.

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