B.C. Attorney General David Eby announces options in fall referendum on electoral reform, B.C. legislature, May 30, 2018. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

News Views: Three choices

The NDP government unveiled the options for the Nov. 30 mail-in referendum on Wednesday.

B.C. residents will have three choices for electoral reform in a November referendum.

Two of the voting systems have never been used before. And the third was previously rejected by the province’s citizens’ assemblies.

The current first-past-the-post system elects candidates with the most votes in 87 ridings.

The NDP government unveiled the options for the Nov. 30 mail-in referendum on Wednesday.

Attorney General David Eby has decided the ballot will contain two questions – the first being a choice between the current system a proportional representation one. Only a majority is needed in the first vote to allow responses to count on three types of possible new voting systems:

• dual-member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of voting districts in B.C. would be combined into a single, two-member constituency, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged;

• mixed-member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote;

• rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot.

B.C. Premier John Horgan claims the existing system gives absolute power to people who get the minority of votes.

No, it rewards the one who gets the most.

Opposition Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson thinks the current system works fine and that the options will only confuse voters. He called them “alphabet soup” and said some have never been heard of before. He suggests that the NDP is only trying to appease its partner in government, the Green Party.

But maintaining the status quo for historical reasons isn’t a strong rationale. Voters deserve a say, and again they will have it.

The campaign period for the different systems will start July 1, with the ballots to be mailed in between Oct. 22 to Nov. 30.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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