April 13, 2005
Single Transferable Vote
On May 17, the voters in BC will have a chance to chose to reform the current voting system from the typical system (most votes wins, etc.) to the Single Transerable Vote system.

This system, as described in Wikipedia here, is a preference voting system designed to minimise wasted votes in multi-candidate elections while ensuring that votes are explicitly for candidates rather than party lists. In its most basic form, it works by allocating an elector's vote to their highest ranked candidate who has not already been removed from contention through either election or elimination. The article goes on to explain the quota system, how votes are counted and some of the loopholes than can exist. Definitely a worthwhile read.

It is currently in practice in the Irish Republic, Scotland, Malta and Australia. The Northern Ireland Elections office has a description of their process here. And provides a great FAQ.

Scotland provides this explanation, along with some of the possible negatives.

I guess my first thought is if it is such an improvement over the typical system, why don't more countries adopt it? Why only 4 countries in the entire world?

A quick search found the following links for the system:

STV For BC - Vote Yes-highly recommended!
Double Blind Webblog
Why You Should Vote Yes

What You Can Get Away With
Fair Voting BC

And against:
Vote No to STV
Community NetIdea
Kootenay Cuts

My concern as an average voter is that the system is far more complicated and takes some serious processing to understand. While I Ham taking the time to do the research, I'm not so sure others will. Take my own father who tonight during dinner announced that he won't vote for something he doesn't understand. My Dad is a learned man, someone who held the helm of a major crown corporation for many years and he says he finds most of the information very confusing. If he's feeling that, so are a great many others.

What I do like though is the more balanced counting to allow for a more equitable, less top heavy "popularity contest" election result.

Att the moment, I am cautiously optimistic. This does seem like a worthwhile system and I think it could be a great change in how we look at chosing our candidates. Something certainly needs to change, and while change may be difficult to grasp at times, it's worth at least keeping an open mind. It's just such a paradigm shift it takes a little to get one's head around it.

However, given my current riding, I am not sure it would even make a difference.

(updated - a commenter has corrected me on this and actually helped me understand the system a bit better. He notes: STV would most definitely make a difference in your (Richmond) riding. Under the current system, the Liberals will probably sweep all of Richmond despite only getting (say) 60% of the total vote. But under STV, with the three Richmond ridings combined together into one (and possibly amalgamated with a couple of South Vanvouver or Surrey ridings), it's likely that the Liberals would only get (say) 2 out of 3 seats or 3 maybe 4 out of 5 seats in the new riding. STV would (in all likelihood) allow the non-Liberal minority in Richmond to elect at least one person to represent them.)

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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