BC-STV Referendum on Electoral Reform

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Today we’re not only voting in the Provincial election, but British Columbians are also participating in a referendum on electoral reform. This means we can vote to change our current plurality or “first past the post” electoral process to BC-STV or “single transferable vote”.

I’ve been looking for resources, I had some interview opportunities to learn more, but I just haven’t been able to rally and provide BC-STV information until now. As such, I turned to YouTube for help (I know, that just sounds all kind of ridiculous). I found a nice roundup of videos about the process so I hope they’re helpful as I find it’s nice to have an idea of what you’re voting on when you get your ballot.

Remember to vote today at your local polling station and if you’re following election coverage on Twitter, use the search term #BCElection.

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9 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JenTuesday, May 12th, 2009 — 10:04am PDT

    Thanks for talking about the STV today! I have found there was a lack of explanation about the STV, especially considering this is the second time voting for it, I would have expected more public awareness about what it actually means, besides the repetitive ads on tv paid for by those in favour or against it.
    I am in support of the STV. As someone who lives in a riding that is traditionally won by a party I am not in support of, I think the STV would give my vote more of a voice than it gets now.
    Don’t forget to vote today everyone! I have never missed any election because I value my right to vote. There are so many people around the world who are fighting for their right to vote, so take the few minutes out of your day today and exercise your right! 🙂

  2. ChrisTuesday, May 12th, 2009 — 12:02pm PDT

    Vote for BC-STV!

  3. JamesTuesday, May 12th, 2009 — 4:11pm PDT

    “I’ve been looking for resources, I had some interview opportunities to learn more, but I just haven’t been able to rally and provide BC-STV information until now.”
    Shame on you Miss 604 for waiting until the day of the election to mention it on your blog! Youtube has had these videos up for over a month.
    Go gummy bears go!

  4. Miss604Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 — 4:15pm PDT

    @James – Oh I’ve watched the videos and looked things up, I just haven’t shared until today. I’m living in a world that’s about 5 days behind everyone else at this point 😛

  5. AC MoneyWednesday, May 13th, 2009 — 10:14am PDT

    Several things led to the downfall of the STV:

    The Single Transferable Vote system suffered from having a name that’s not easy to understand such as the anti-STV’s “First Past The Post” moniker. The masses are simple folk. They like full sentences, not descriptive names! They’d have more success with “Vote for Multiple Candidates! System” or the “You Get More MLAs To Represent You! System” or “Your Vote Counts More This Way! System. The exclamation marks will be key to its popularity and positive response.

    Also, it sounds too much like STD.

    The anti-STV side claims we’d vote in “fringe candidates”, which is not true. They’d still have to garner enough votes. That should’ve been highlighted in the STV’s campaign. Calling it the “Don’t Worry, The Green Party Still Won’t Win Anyway System” may be too long-winded (albeit accurate), but it’s worth mentioning.

    Hide the math! We don’t need to know the geeked-out way you figure out votes. Just say your 2nd or 3rd choice will be counted if your first choice is already elected… and end it there! Sheeesh… if people knew how governments worked, we wouldn’t vote at all. I enjoy eating beef… I don’t need to know how you cut it up at the slaughterhouse.

    To get the younger voter interest in the STV, they had Krist Novoselic, bassist for Nirvana, come up to speak about voter reform. NEWS FLASH: The majority of Nirvana fans at the height of their popularity are now in their late 30’s and 40’s! I think someone in the STV camp involved with that booking is still clinging to their youth! And having “The Tall Guy” from Nirvana doesn’t say a lot when he really doesn’t have anything else to do since Dave Grohl found another gig to keep busy. What happened there, anyway? Dave starts the Foo Fighters and Krist said, “hey, do you need a bassist?” and he said no thanks even though they make up 2 out of only 3 members of one of the most popular and influential grunge bands in the world? That is just CRUEL.

    But I digress. I hope STV gets a third chance under a new name, a new campaign, and a new batch of apathetic voters.

  6. JamesThursday, May 14th, 2009 — 6:49pm PDT

    Thanks for posting these Miss604. I’m one of the “late 30’s…” demo AC Money references in their post and I didn’t vote for STV. I’m simply not down with a chop suey approach to my vote – I vote once and it goes to the person I want to represent me in Victoria.

    I don’t view STV as some sort of democratic distribution of vote based on waste. I think it’s something else – sour grapes

    My perception is that supporters of the STV are primarily, disaffected NDP voters who loathe the Liberal 3-peat. They obviously feel that their vote isn’t being counted. As someone who spent their twenties under the NDP(whom I loathe) I empathize. I never voted for them, but there they were – elected again and again. That aside, I’m not inclined to support any system that increases the likelihood of minority governments and a reduction in local representation. In a nutshell, that’s what you’ll find us fogies throwing down – an aversion to a huge slate of people we don’t know, who aren’t from our area, who presume to provide effective representation. I have enough trouble acquainting myself with one MLA. Why would I want to evaluate 7?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trumpeting the magnificence of Gordo, but the STV thing…ack!!! It’s whacked. Move on.


  7. AC MoneyFriday, May 15th, 2009 — 7:56am PDT

    @ James:

    Wow, so wrong on so many points. Sorry, I should say I disagree on so many points.

    First, don’t call us late 30somethings “old fogies”. My bones may be creakin’, but my pants ain’t a-leakin’.

    Here we go point-to-point:

    “…not down with a chop suey approach to my vote – I vote once….”
    You still can. No one “cuts up” your vote. Your FIRST vote goes to the PRIMARY candidate you want it to, period. IF you have 2nd or 3rd votes, THEN they go to those candidates, but you can still stick to ONE vote. And even if you had multiple choices, they don’t get “chopped up”. That’s such a hackneyed way of describing proportional distribution. Besides, if you want a Liberal government, how come you’re not complaining about a “chopped up” system of MLAs? Why not ONE Liberal candidate to represent all of BC? OH NO! BC is “chopped up” into ridings! Christ, I think Canada is “chopped up” into these awful things called “provinces”. You’re voting for who you WANT to vote for.

    “My perception is that supporters of the STV are primarily, disaffected NDP voters who loathe the Liberal 3-peat.”
    That is a personal perception. Mine is that anti-STV folks are simple mouthbreathers who avoid math like the swine flu. “Numbers? GET AWAY! Me no understand! I vote NO”. All my friends who are pro-STV are Liberal supporters. They’re not disaffected, they simply understand that a more distributed voting system makes sense.

    “…not inclined to support any system that increases the likelihood of minority governments and a reduction in local representation.”
    Have you seen the election results? Not a single 3rd party seat was won. No matter what voting system, if people are split in their votes enough to elect 3 or more different parties into government, they will. But it’s obvious BC is not keen on that. If the populace votes the way they do, Greens and other fringe parties still won’t win seats. It’s laughingly ironic that you use those two statements in that same sentence, because if you favour a system that discourages minority governments, it really is due to the LACK of local representation. You’re grouping MORE people into ONE homogenous vote per riding. The STV allows a diverse group in one riding to be represented by more than one candidate, and it does NOT mean it has to be mixed. If a current riding is split in a way that the MAJORITY of voters are still Liberal, then it would still vote and be represented that way. i.e. 1 liberal MLA in the old system could still turn into 2 or 3 Liberal MLAs in the new system. And how can MORE candidates be LESS representative of a population? That’s like saying you have to designate a certain area as ONE ethnicity based on its majority. “Who lives in Vancouver? White people. Who lives in Surrey? East Indians”, but that’s not the whole picture. If we represented those two areas with more designations, say… 5, we can say Vancouver is represented by 3 whites, 1 Asian and 1 panhandler, and Surrey has 4 East Indians and 1 scared white person. See? That’s much closer to reality.

    “…aversion to a huge slate of people we don’t know…”
    Then don’t vote for them

    “…who aren’t from our area”
    I think they have to be

    “…who presume to provide effective representation”
    I think 3 people can be more effective than 1

    “I have enough trouble acquainting myself with one MLA. Why would I want to evaluate 7”
    So your laziness should define our electoral system? Also, who says you have to know all 7? You want to know the one(s) who are fighting for YOUR issues. That’s what I like about the system. How can I expect that ONE candidate will fight for or believe in my set of valued issues? Why not have a slate of 3-4 candidates who could satisfy a small subset each of what my personal needs are? That way, not one person has the responsibility of doing EVERYTHING. If Mary can’t fix the schools here, fine… Joe can because he cares more about it. If Joe has an SUV, fine, Peter is the candidate who will push environmental issues for me. Etc etc.

    You are 100% entitled to your opinion. It’s just disappointing to see the argument against electoral reform simply repeats the rhetoric of the anti-STV ads with phrases like “chopping the votes”, “minority government”, “less representation”. Don’t believe everything you see in TV ads. I’m surprised you didn’t regurgitate “I don’t know where my vote’s going to” while waving your arms in confusion.

    If you do feel that way, there’s some robot insurance you should buy, old fogey: http://www.robotcombat.com/video_oldglory_hi.html

  8. PossumSaturday, May 23rd, 2009 — 9:08am PDT

    The STV system is a crock. I live on the Island and will be lumped into a huge riding with 5 MLA’s who in all likelihood will come from Nanaimo. The regional area surrounding Nanaimo has more people that the balance of the riding so they can force the election of their 5 MLAs every time and the rest of us suck wind.

    This past election I voted Liberal and lost but I can live with that as I prefer FPTP to a system promoted by losers for losers.

    It has been defeated twice, therefore it should die a natural death this time.

    Anyone want to bet the losers will want it resurrected a third time?

    Only in BC eh?

  9. Brad BeattieThursday, August 20th, 2009 — 11:30pm PDT

    I, too, am in favour of shooting down STV. You know who supports it? People who vote for losing candidates. It’s like a North Korean supporting some kind of electoral process. Screw you, citizen that wants to vote. You’re going to stay marginalized!


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