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Author Topic: BC referendum on changing electoral system  (Read 1334 times)
mileslunn
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« on: January 09, 2018, 03:56:00 pm »

This year BC will have a mail in ballot about switching to some undefined proportional representation system.  Whether it will be a straight up a choice between keeping FTFP and a particular form of PR or a ranked choice between multiple forms of PR and FTFP, it is still undecided.  It will be a mail in ballot in November.  What are people's thoughts on this and how likely do you think it is to pass.  Also what if it is really close and large swaths of the province vote against it, could this cause problems as a clear win or defeat would resolve it but a close result probably means it won't be the last we here on it.  Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 04:12:06 pm »

Is that constitutional in Canada?
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mileslunn
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 04:20:58 pm »

Is that constitutional in Canada?

It is a provincial so absolutely.  On a national level I believe switching to PR would be constitutional as long as the number of seats in each province is not less than what they had in 1976 and less than the senate.  It's changes to the senate which need constitutional amendment, but I don't believe switching electoral system does.  For one, BC used ranked ballots in the 1952 election, but then reverted to first past the post in 1953 so it has been done before.
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 06:59:18 pm »

For reference, here are the results from 2005:



and 2009:

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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 07:23:20 pm »

Do we know if there would be more options on the ballot than STV or FPTP as presented above? If so, there is a good chance nothing will come from this, since there is little chance a single choice would get a confident majority with a 3+ way ballot. And of course, waiting on the vote and having a second round in this scenario to decide between top two creates an high uncertainty period where the narrow government majority could fall...
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mileslunn
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 07:41:02 pm »

Do we know if there would be more options on the ballot than STV or FPTP as presented above? If so, there is a good chance nothing will come from this, since there is little chance a single choice would get a confident majority with a 3+ way ballot. And of course, waiting on the vote and having a second round in this scenario to decide between top two creates an high uncertainty period where the narrow government majority could fall...

I think MMP is more likely than STV, since we rejected STV twice.  It would be an instant run off so if none got over 50%, the least popular would be dropped off and their second choices redistributed.  If the government falls before July 2021, the old system of FTFP will be used so only if they fall after July 1, 2021 does the new system take effect if it passes.

In terms of geographic breakdown, I suspect the Interior will be the highest negative against, rural Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland suburbs probably in between while I suspect Vancouver proper and Victoria proper should go heavily in favour.  It seems support for PR is heavily correlated with population density so the higher the population density of a riding the more likely it is to vote in favour.
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 07:55:34 pm »

They're doing a consultation on what exactly will be on the ballot, so it could be a New Zealand style multi-choice referendum.

As for rural voters, I think one of the reasons STV performed so badly in 2009 was a release of the planned constituencies, which saw a lot of rural voters worry about being subsumed into gigantic ridings.
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EarlAW
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 08:25:00 pm »

It should pass, as it will be a standalone mail-in ballot, so only people who care will vote, and most people who care support reform. Look at PEI.

The BC government was very smart to not attach this to the municipal elections, when only old fuddy duddies vote (and they would vote status quo), thus killing the chances of reform.
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Antonio V
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 01:47:38 am »

Hoping this goes through.
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 02:19:29 am »

Hoping this goes through.

Same but I would like to see the question and exact options before deterring my exact support but I will probably support the referendum. Honestly anything but IRV is better then FPTP.
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Cynthia
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 09:25:47 am »

Dumb question: can I get an absentee ballot for this?
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 11:09:07 am »

For reference, here are the results from 2005:



and 2009:



Why the big opinion change in 4 years?
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IceAgeComing
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 11:09:55 am »

Well I imagine if you're eligible for a postal vote to vote in British Columbian Provincial elections then you're eligible for this but I don't know the criteria for that because I don't look this sort of thing up.

They'd be a lot more sensible to go down the New Zealand route and offer choice to voters on the alternative; it'd probably make it more likely to pass as well.  Anything is better than FPTP - other than, like, multi-member FPTP...

It also wouldn't surprise me if people were annoyed about being asked again four years after it failed - although it made sense to considering how tightly it failed...
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tack50
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 11:11:40 am »

Also, now that I think about it, would a mixed system work? Either make the BC parliament half elected by pure PR (say, party lists or STV) and half by FPTP, or making a "BC Senate" which is elected proportionally.

I guess that could be an acceptable compromise right?
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 01:10:30 pm »

Also, now that I think about it, would a mixed system work? Either make the BC parliament half elected by pure PR (say, party lists or STV) and half by FPTP, or making a "BC Senate" which is elected proportionally.

I guess that could be an acceptable compromise right?

Essentially that is what MMP would be: Look at NZ or Scotland, Germany... they use mixed FPTP electorates and PR seats (either national like NZ and Germany, or multiple member regions like Scotland)
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 03:27:14 pm »

The 2005 referendum was done after a lengthy citizen's assembly delegated on the matter, plus it followed two provincial elections which resulted in results being wildly off of the popular vote.

In 1996, the NDP won a majority with fewer votes than the Liberals and in 2001 the Liberals won 97% of the seats with 58% of the vote.

I suspect the odd result of last year's election will also help reform win.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 04:07:08 pm »

The 2005 referendum was done after a lengthy citizen's assembly delegated on the matter, plus it followed two provincial elections which resulted in results being wildly off of the popular vote.

In 1996, the NDP won a majority with fewer votes than the Liberals and in 2001 the Liberals won 97% of the seats with 58% of the vote.

I suspect the odd result of last year's election will also help reform win.

I think more Trudeau's broken promise will motivate those who want change to come out.  The NDP winning nationally seems unlikely anytime soon and neither the Liberals or Conservatives will change it federally unless forced to so if implemented in BC and works well that will put more pressure on the feds to switch.  The results in the last election actually while not proportional were fairly reasonable in that the party that got the most votes (BC Liberals) got the most seats, but since they only barely won the popular vote, they only finished slightly ahead in seats and thus no majority.  The Greens who got 17% of the vote got seats and the 57% who voted for a progressive government got one.  Now had Courtenay-Comox gone BC Liberal then people might have felt differently.  Ironically the BC Conservatives did in some ways cost the BC Liberals a majority as they only ran in 10 seats, but two of those were Courtenay-Comox and Maple Ridge-Mission where BC Liberal + BC Conservative exceeded NDP vote.  Mind you NDP + Greens got more votes than the BC Liberals + BC Conservatives in the majority of ridings in the province.
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tack50
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 05:48:42 pm »

Also, now that I think about it, would a mixed system work? Either make the BC parliament half elected by pure PR (say, party lists or STV) and half by FPTP, or making a "BC Senate" which is elected proportionally.

I guess that could be an acceptable compromise right?

Essentially that is what MMP would be: Look at NZ or Scotland, Germany... they use mixed FPTP electorates and PR seats (either national like NZ and Germany, or multiple member regions like Scotland)

I mean uncorrelated. As in, the PR seats aren't meant for correcting anything. I think the actual system is called Mixed Member Majoritarian and is what Japan uses?

Or just plain making a "BC senate" which is elected by PR.
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EarlAW
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 06:01:20 pm »

While I like the idea of provincial Senates, I am probably the only one, and it ain't happening.

But, since you brought it up, my plan would be to have a PR elected Senate and a IRV/ATV elected lower house federally and provincially.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 06:02:49 pm »

Also, now that I think about it, would a mixed system work? Either make the BC parliament half elected by pure PR (say, party lists or STV) and half by FPTP, or making a "BC Senate" which is elected proportionally.

I guess that could be an acceptable compromise right?

Essentially that is what MMP would be: Look at NZ or Scotland, Germany... they use mixed FPTP electorates and PR seats (either national like NZ and Germany, or multiple member regions like Scotland)

I mean uncorrelated. As in, the PR seats aren't meant for correcting anything. I think the actual system is called Mixed Member Majoritarian and is what Japan uses?

Or just plain making a "BC senate" which is elected by PR.

It would probably be MMP rather than MMM the former being what Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales use while the latter being what Mexico and Japan use.  The former means proportional seats compensate for those who overperform in constituency seats while MMM means they act independent of each other so is not PR, but is more proportional than FTFP.  The one thing that may make it slightly less proportional as I suspect to avoid a backlash in the interior they will keep the ridings as is in the North so unless they have overhang seats, it might be possible for one to get a majority without a majority of votes by doing really well in the constituency seats.  If they didn't have overhang seats, Merkel would have a majority with 1/3 of the popular vote.
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2018, 06:58:12 pm »

If you have a MMP system, with enough proportional seats to ensure that the overall result is proportional to the provincial list votes, it would be unnecessary to worry about using ranked choice voting in the single member ridings or to be concerned about the exact riding boundaries. Even if the single member seats produce a grossly disproportional result, this would be corrected by the list seats.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2018, 10:01:52 pm »

If you have a MMP system, with enough proportional seats to ensure that the overall result is proportional to the provincial list votes, it would be unnecessary to worry about using ranked choice voting in the single member ridings or to be concerned about the exact riding boundaries. Even if the single member seats produce a grossly disproportional result, this would be corrected by the list seats.

The problem here is to do this you would either have to make the provincial legislature a lot larger which might be a tough sell (i.e. costs more tax dollars) or you would have to make the ridings bigger so there are fewer constituency seats.  The latter would be a non-issue in the Lower Mainland, but a major issue in the Interior as many of the Northern ridings are larger than some European countries and take several hours to drive across so making them even larger wouldn't go over well.  Most countries that use PR have much higher population densities so this is less of an issue.  After all BC has 1/17th the population of Germany yet 2.5x the landmass.
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EarlAW
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2018, 11:53:38 pm »

If you have a MMP system, with enough proportional seats to ensure that the overall result is proportional to the provincial list votes, it would be unnecessary to worry about using ranked choice voting in the single member ridings or to be concerned about the exact riding boundaries. Even if the single member seats produce a grossly disproportional result, this would be corrected by the list seats.

This is a good point. Maybe under MMP they would bring back the Atlin riding?
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2018, 06:09:15 am »

If you have a MMP system, with enough proportional seats to ensure that the overall result is proportional to the provincial list votes, it would be unnecessary to worry about using ranked choice voting in the single member ridings or to be concerned about the exact riding boundaries. Even if the single member seats produce a grossly disproportional result, this would be corrected by the list seats.

The problem here is to do this you would either have to make the provincial legislature a lot larger which might be a tough sell (i.e. costs more tax dollars) or you would have to make the ridings bigger so there are fewer constituency seats.  The latter would be a non-issue in the Lower Mainland, but a major issue in the Interior as many of the Northern ridings are larger than some European countries and take several hours to drive across so making them even larger wouldn't go over well.  Most countries that use PR have much higher population densities so this is less of an issue.  After all BC has 1/17th the population of Germany yet 2.5x the landmass.

Weighted STV. It makes no sense to sort ballots into equal piles, when the voters do not sort themselves into equal-sized groups. It also makes no sense to sort areas into quantum-sized populations, when the voters don't live in equal-population areas. There is no reason to fudge community-of-interest to match equality, or to fudge equality to match community-of-interest.

(1) The magnitude of a district may be fractional (e.g. 1.45 in the interior, or 7.37 in Vancouver). Redistributions often will be simple recalculation of magnitudes, with occasional changes in boundaries to reflect long-term demographic change, such as suburban areas extending further into the countryside. It may be possible for voters in an area to initiate a change of district, since it will have minimal political effect. Magnitudes will be rounded to 0.01 for simplicity.

(2) Voters rank candidates. There will be no ballot exhaustion. A voter who has not expressed a full set of preferences, will be assumed to have adopted the preference order of his 1st preference for the remaining candidates.

(3) Quota = Ballots Cast/Magnitude

(4) Two thresholds will be calculated;

Exclusion Threshold: Minimum (Ballots Cast * 0.25, Quota * 0.8)

In small magnitude districts (less than 3.2), this is intended to permit politically diverse representation.

Surplus Threshold: Quota * 1.2

This is intended to prevent any single MLA of exercising too much power. The difference between the Surplus Threshold (Quota * 1.2) and Exclusion Threshold (Quota * 0.8) is intended to permit variable representation based on party strength. This also incentivizes turnout, and recognizes finer changes in support.

Counting proceeds like normal STV, Surpluses above the surplus threshold will be distributed. Counting stops when all candidates exceed exclusion threshold.

New Zealand method (transfers of votes to previously elected candidates) might be used. Possible resucitation of excluded candidates.

(5) Voting weight magnitude distributed among elected candidates based on their final ballots.

(6) Elected members would exercise weighted vote.

(7) Cost containment.

If number of members is too large for assembly chamber, then allocate seats based on party. Members can swap out during sittings, or sit in overflow room.

Legislative salaries can be based on weighted vote, with some minimum. In-district offices can be shared, with clerical office staff working for all members. Travel expenses can be reduced by sitting 6 days/week when in session. Consideration should be given to meeting on the mainland (is it cheaper to transport staff to Vancouver, or the MLA's to Victoria). Perhaps meetings can be conducted via virtual presence/reality. Eliminate defined benefit pensions. Members should be eligible for Canadian OA pension, and with high salaries plus expenses can afford own investments.

Possible Constituencies:

North:
Peace River-Northeast (1.5)
Prince George (2)
Prince Rupert-Northwest (1.5)

Cariboo-Thompson (4)

Columbia-Koootenay (3)

Okanagan-Kelowna (7.5) Possibly split, but might not be possible without splitting Kelowna.

Greater Vancouver

Vancouver (12.5) two districts.
West Vancouver-North Vancouver (4.2)
Tri-Cities (4.5)
Burnaby-New Westminster (5.5)
Richmond (4)
Surrey-Delta (12) two districts.

Fraser Valley (10) two (3?) districts.

Vancouver Island (15):

Victoria (6)
Nanaimo-Cowichan-South Island (5)
North Island (4)
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EarlAW
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2018, 03:45:56 pm »

"Weighted votes" is probably unconstitutional in a Westminster system.
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