In the news: the precise question or questions on BC’s electoral reform referendum will be announced in the Fall. For now, the debate is First Past the Post vs. Proportional Representation.
When it comes to voting, most of us want simplicity and fairness.
We have neither with our current First Past the Post system, which encourages (among other shortcomings) voting for someone we don’t want, in order to block someone else; that’s complicated and indirect. The result isn’t fair when the winning party typically gets about 38 per cent of votes, and when much of the province is represented by only one party despite support for others. Witness the scarcity of BC Liberal MLAs on the island and Lower Mainland, and the shortage of NDP MLAs in the interior and north. Conservative and Green candidates have potential; however, votes for them are especially considered “wasted”.
A simpler and fairer system, Proportional Representation, allows us to vote for whom and for what we actually want, knowing that we’d help to elect someone who cares about us. The resulting government represents a true majority of voters. Civil discourse and long-term planning for business or government are possible since policy lurches after an election are less likely when parties must cooperate.
Some try to “muddy the waters” with demands for explanations of this type of PR vs. that type of PR, as if the final choice could possibly be worse than FPTP. Most of us don’t know and don’t care to know the intricacies of how our car works, or how our computer generates data. We just want these things to function as we direct. It’s the same with a modern electoral system. Let’s just support a simple and fair choice: Proportional Representation.