BC-STV - May 12th

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Starting a quick post to help push awareness of the upcoming referendum on changing the BC election system to a Single Transferable Vote (STV) system to replace the current First Past the Post system.

I hope that this time out we can get this system put into place. See the link below. Make your vote(s) count!

m2c

remember, kids

YES to STV

NO to STD

STV would be a giant step forward, let's hope it passes this time around.

There are lots of reasons to vote no. Below are the links which provide reasons to vote no and won't repeat them.

I will add one point however that even the critics don't mention. The official STV line is that "every vote counts." Well under the FPP system every vote is counted and it is clear how. If they mean "every vote counts" means every vote goes to help elect a member neither STV of FPP does that. Only a proportional voting system could that (and even that typically has thresholds to deny the very fringe parties so even there some votes are "wasted.") I'll explain.

Under STV if your number 1 ranked candidate isn't elected and isn't bumped off the bottom, your vote didn't elect anyone. This is not theoretical, this will be fact for a a large number of voters. For e.g. in Van East there will be 5 candidates elected. If your first rank is the person that eventually comes in 6th through about 14th place - sorry your vote counts for NOTHING.

In comparison others will have for e.g. .4 of a vote go to elect one person, .3 of a vote elect a second person, .2 of a vote elect a third person and .1 of a vote elect a fourth person. Again, this is not theoretical, this is inevitable.

http://www.nostv.org/

http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2009/04/reject-single-transferable-vote...

http://www.strategicthoughts.com/

Fed Ex

Your reasoning is, well, pretty loose and alarmist, preying on those who don't have the time to think.

You say that in FPP it's clear how the votes are counted, implying that STV is hopelessly complex. I don't find it to be all that complicated, but instead of trying to argue it's lack of complexity, I'll ask you this: Do you use ATMs? Do you use a computer? Do you use a microwave? Do you know how all of these devices work? Does it matter?

You suggest that under STV a large number of votes will mean nothing. Will that "large number" be a "large percentage" of the ballots? (ie: 10,000 is a large number of votes, but in a 200,000 vote riding it's a small percentage.) I doubt it. Besides, under the FPP system in a theoretical 200 vote riding with 3 candidates, up to 132 of the votes (66%) will count for just as little as your "6th through 14th place" votes. Every vote that doesn't serve to elect someone serves to send a message of support, just as it does in the FPP system.

Every electoral system has its flaws, but if you're going to present them, at least present the ones that are real and aren't shared by the system you're trying to defend.

The Final Report of the Citizen's Assembly recommending STV is entitled "Making Every Vote Count."

If they mean every vote helps elect someone - that's wrong.

If they mean every vote is counted and "serves to send a message of support" - they're accurate but it's immaterial since every system does that.

The keystone document of STV is misleading right from the title. My point about 'every vote count' is that the proponents are misleading the electorate - not that it's a reason to vote against STV per se. I concede, under STV it's less likely all of your vote will be "wasted" but it's nearly certain part of your vote will be "wasted." If that was the only distinction that might be a small point in favour of STV.

There's lots of reasons to vote no, the links I provided list many. The biggest are mega ridings; different size ridings = different thresholds; multiple rep = no rep (who's your city councillor??); learning how to rank 30 candidates; and minority governments.

I'm voting NO to the microwave. Boo!

Ah yes, having 7 representatives, one to three of which are for the party you voted for will
certainly lead to less representation than having only 1 representative, which 60%+ of the
people didn't vote for.

And don't even start talking about "part of your vote". STV is a method whereby everybody's
vote gets counted exactly once per seat being elected, just like FPP.

As for minority governments, all STV does is make the legislature more closely resemble
what the voters want. That's democracy, if that adds extra parliamentary wrangling, tough
tits. Democracy is a good thing.

Fed Ex, if you want to actually have a rational discussion about the reasons why STV is bad,
I'd bet you would have a hard time actually defending those reasons. If you only want to say
the reasons are listed on the websites, and there's no room for debate, then that close-
mindedness doesn't warrant further discussion with you.

for those of you that dont understand it and think its too complicated, take a couple of minutes and read up on it (link at bottom!) It is a fairly simple to understand system and does provide for better proportional representation (kinda the idea of democracy)

Apparently spreading questionable reasoning is widespread. I just heard Ujjal Dosanjh argue
against STV by saying that, when you vote, you want to vote for your first choice, whereas in
STV your vote could well count towards your second or third choice. He neglected to point out
that this would only happen if either your first choice was already elected or else they had so
little support that they didn't have a hope. In the current system in such a situation you would
have no control at all, rather than giving your vote a "fall-back plan."

"I concede, under STV it's less likely all of your vote will be "wasted" but it's nearly certain
part of your vote will be "wasted." If that was the only distinction that might be a small point
in favour of STV."

It doesn't matter what system is used, the only wasted vote is an uncast ballot.

Any system which breaks the chokehold of divisive party politics and returns representatives
more aligned with the views of the whole population is an improvement on our current system
which is now so broken that most people can't be bothered to make their mark.

We all negotiate and work for consensus as a means of finding solutions in our daily lives. I
think STV will make these inclusive strategies a necessary part of political leadership. The
scare tactics claiming confusion and complication are an insult to all of us that are perfectly
capable of ranking a few options in terms of their palatability. Heck, I can give my kid three
choices for supper and have her express her preferences. Surely anyone over the age of 18
can figure out which candidate they really want, which one they think would do a pretty good
job, and which one they can live with. If they can't they need to review what it means to live
in a democracy and what responsibilities come with the rights and freedoms we have come to
take for granted.

As usual, Keam and I are in full agreement.

That's either a sign of the coming apocalypse, or a sign that this is a no-brainer.

There are lots of reasons to vote against STV. None of those reasons are Democratic, and just
about all of them are for the purpose of giving a party more power than the votes bear out.

Mr. Dosanjh is also ignoring the fact that you are by no means obligated to vote for more than one candidate. If you only want to vote for one, that is your prerogative, but could lead to your vote being *GASP* wasted if that person is not elected.

You know, just like the FPP system.

You'd think Mr. Dosanjh, who was elected by, what, three votes(?), would endorse a system that would get him as many votes as possible, even if they are the dregs of a Work Less or Marijuana Party candidate.

The fact that Temple and Keam are on the same side of this is truly terrifying, I must admit.

Quickly on representation - I can't imagine a weaker argument against the STV. To propose that 5 MLA's representing East Vancouver (my riding) would somehow all avoid responsibility for any problem I might have is laughable. While I could see this argument if we had one provincial riding, it doesn't translate to the STV system.

In fact, having 5 MLA's, some of which were in power, some of which were not, would allow me to approach the MLA of my choice depending on the issue. Maybe the Opposition Critic for Transportation is part of my riding, or the Minister of Health, or both. Currently if you have a opposition back bencher how helpful is that going to be.

I also concur with the idea that the No Sides main argument of "It's complicated, and thus bad" is a big insult to the entire population. Voter turnout isn't low and getting lower because of the current "complicated" system, rather I would suggest that it's going in that direction because of the forgone conclusion for many ridings. "I support the NDP, but the Liberal MLA has won by 20% in the past 3 elections, why should I bother?", as well as the limited choice that most voters do have. "Usless Person A" or "Usless Person B".

So maybe John Q Voter will need to work a bit more once every 4 years, but democracy is something that is more appreciated when you have to work for it (just ask anyone in Eastern Europe).

m2c

Well said, m2c.

"Temple and Keam are on the same side of this"

If that isn't a reason to seriously consider supporting STV, I don't know what is. :)

Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

"(hat tip to Temple)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSUKMa1cYH"

This one is great. It's the easiest primer on STV. Check out John Cleese explaining PR,
Proportional Representation, in 1985, which is exactly what the BC-STV is proposing.

You'll hear him address all the same groundless concerns that you've been hearing from the No
side. His reaction to the 'it's complicated' concern is priceless.

Your STV vote may be the most influential vote you ever cast in a BC election. The results will
greatly affect every election to come. Take a moment to understand it.

A view from the STV front lines in Ireland. Conclusion...
"There are no consequences to [STV] elections because by their nature they present indecisive choice. The opportunity to vote for everybody, through the ranking of your preferences, means that in reality, you vote for no one."

Wow, we could wake up in 4 yeras and realize it's just us and Malta with STV.

I would disagree. If you're a hardcore NDPer, all you have to do is vote for the NDP candidates and no one else. If you only want to vote for one candidate, then do that.

That said, the video with Cleese isn't presenting how STV would work for us. All of those countries in Europe listed have a different type of proportional representation.

"That said, the video with Cleese isn't presenting how STV would work for us. All of those
countries in Europe listed have a different type of proportional representation."

The first part of what you said is incorrect. The second part is correct.

The proposed system that Cleese describes is not stated to be the same flavour of Proportional
Represantation as most of the countries listed use. The characteristic that they do share is that
they are more representative of voting and that's it.

As described, the system that Cleese discusses is identical to BC-STV.

"A view from the STV front lines in Ireland. Conclusion... "There are no consequences to
[STV] elections because by their nature they present indecisive choice. The opportunity to
vote for everybody, through the ranking of your preferences, means that in reality, you vote
for no one."

Wow, we could wake up in 4 yeras and realize it's just us and Malta with STV."

The fact that somebody wrote it, does not make it true. Suggesting STV systems are
indecisive is FUD. I'm sure you could argue that they're indecisive (in the 'decisive victory'
sense of the word, not in the literal) in that they do not give a majority when there is no
majority support of the voters.

While yes, FPP is more likely to give 'decisive victories', even when the votes don't bear it
out, STV always gives a decision. Way more often than not, that decision under STV closely
resembles the voting. Suggesting otherwise is bull.

Of course one other thing we can ALL agree on is make sure to get out and Vote today, whoever or whatever you vote for.

Predictions:

Liberals: 60% of the Seats with 46% of the Vote
NDP: 40% of the Seats with 40% of the Vote
Green: 0% of the Seats with 12% of the Vote

STV: Sadly, Not passed.

m2c

Ugh how depressing. Get your grandma, register your cat, whatever you have to do and get out to the polls..! Vote green and STV for BC's sake! Time to dump the CEO Campbell!

and really, what does it take to rile up the outrage anymore? Glen Clark builds a deck and the papers and people howl for months then voters dump him. The RCMP raid the legislature and it's hush hush for 6 years and 3 elections... and Gordo keeps getting elected..! WTF??

So very disappointing. How did support swing from 58% to 38%? Why did people pay any attention to Fed Ex and his/her ilk? If it was the "confusing" aspect that swung it, then I've lost most of what little faith I had in our society.

The representation wasn't as bad as in previous elections, but consider these stats:

Lib 46% of vote 58% of seats
NDP 42% of vote 42 % of seats
GRN 8% of vote 0% of seats

Grrrrrrr

Hey, where are my props, not a bad prediction. I'm back on top, just wait for the Fall VULS AGM!

Not surprised that the STV failed, but very surprised at the overall support. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

How about we have the same system as now, except the 85 elected MLA's then select/vote in the Premier and all major Cabinet positions (Finance, Health, Education, etc...) If you are picked you can't say no, but you can't be picked more than once.

Green's need a new idea now that they can't get a seat in a Provincial election, I suggest starting at the ground and work up. Lets see more Green Party candidates for Mayors, Council and School Board positions.

m2c

Maybe if the Green Party had a sound financial plan they would get some support. Maybe if their leader didn't say things like, "I feel like I'm not even here" during the debate people could back that option.

So the Liberals win the majority of seats and the highest amount of the popular vote. If seats were elected by popular vote, the Greens and Independent would get 54% of the seats, could form a coalliton and run the province, similar to what happened in the Federal election. The NDP would likely lead the coallition and then would run the province with only 42% of the popular vote and 44% of the seats won. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

You may not like Campbell, and he is definitely not perfect, but BC does not need to fall back to where it was when the NDPs last held power. There is a reason they held only two seats in the 2001 election, and more reasons why they haven't been in power since.

No surprise here: a Liberal supporter proppin up the Green Party, thorn-in-the side of the NDP...

The Liberals figured it all out in the 90's: one big tent for traditional socreds and right-ist liberals, who were split in 1991: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Columbia_general_election,_1991

The NDP has never had more than 46% of the vote, according to the Straight. If they want power again, they'll need the right to splinter, a merger with greens to avoid precious lost votes, changes in policy to attract more centrist voters, and/or a big change in BC voter preferences. Good luck.

"There is a reason they held only two seats in the 2001 election,
and more reasons why they haven't been in power since. "

Um, because of a flawed electoral system plus the fact that the Libs and media fed the public BS about what the NDP actually did and the consequences, then continued to feed them BS about what they themselves would do and have done since.

....and b/c the NDP ignored basic scientific and economic principles to develop flawed climate change policy. "Axe the tax" left only a cap and trade model that addressed just 35% of provincial GHG emissions. This eliminated any possible onus on the individual to get accountable and reduce their own emissions (as did their promise to eliminate the Smart Metering program). They shot themselves in the foot on climate change policy; and "fed the public" ample amounts of their own bs about "selling our rivers" to the private sector. This election highlighted the necessary link between economic success and sustainability; but the NDP had blinders on to this reality.

“So very disappointing. How did support swing from 58% to 38%? Why did people pay any attention to Fed Ex and his/her ilk? If it was the "confusing" aspect that swung it, then I've lost most of what little faith I had in our society.”

STV lost about a third of its support from 4 years ago. Why? Last time STV was a blank cheque, no one knew what a riding would look like, how the ridings would differ, etc: it was like a vote for “sovereignty association.” Furthermore, this time people knew more about STV. They learned that while it was more proportional, it wasn’t a proportional system (especially outside urban areas) and that ballots would be much longer and representation more diffused. Some people (gasp) prefer majority governments over coalitions.

It’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s about what you value and opinions. Perhaps some people voted FFP because they were confused – that’s at least as legitimate as voting STV because they were angry at politicians (which is present in every electoral system) and would have voted for any alternative (I suspect Dictator would have received 10% if it was an alternative)

Gordo is my Premiere for the next 4 years - I understand disappointing but I don't think less of my fellow citizens.

http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/

I don't know, the whole confusion/complication argument really doesn't hold water for me. Aside from not being overly complicated, why would 58% of voters vote for something they don't understand? Arguing that people should vote against it because it's hard to understand makes no sense to me, since according to the NO STV stance, people nearly voted for it when they didn't understand it.

And I really don't see how STV would have given us a coalition government, given the vote distribution. Say the Greens ended up getting a seat. Would that have affected the balance of power, putting more seats in the hands of a potential NDP-Green alliance? No. We still would have had a majority Liberal goverment. There simply are not enough major parties on the provincial scene to make coalition governments a plausible reality, at least until the Greens are able to gain a foothold.