Whatever the will of the voters turns out to be, we’ll have a say in determining what electoral system we feel will work best for us. BLACK PRESS file photo

Editorial: Electoral reform would retain some of what works

We’ll have a say in determining what electoral system we feel will work best for us

Nanaimo has been talking politics for months, and now our province needs another vote from us.

We should be turning some of our attention to the current referendum on proportional representation. Mail-in ballots are due by the end of November.

Whatever the will of the voters turns out to be, we’ll have a say in determining what electoral system we feel will work best for us. That may mean retaining the current first-past-the-post system, or it may mean moving to one of three other options: mixed-member proportional, dual-member proportional or rural-urban proportional.

All of the three new options, because they’re unfamiliar, seem more complicated than first-past-the-post, but we hope that whatever motivates voters, it’s not fear of the unknown or a reluctance to take measures to make an informed decision.

It’s natural to focus on what differentiates the systems, but the three new systems would all still give voters either their first choice, or a consensus first choice – more on that in a moment – and then fill in whatever gaps need to be filled to achieve proportional representation.

Mixed-member proportional starts with first-past-the-post MLA choices, then adds regional MLAs from party lists. Dual-member proportional also starts with first-past-the-post choices, supplemented by second MLAs from under-represented parties in the ridings where those parties had the greatest support. Rural-urban proportional uses MMP in rural areas and a ranked balloting system in urban areas to select the MLA candidates that the most voters can agree on.

Proportional representation does come with leaps of faith – that party lists would provide the best candidates, that ballots would be comprehensible, or that balancing third-choice party seats could be done in a way that’s fair to all regions.

On the other hand, the opposite of proportional representation must be disproportional representation, and if that’s what we have, is that what we want? It’s worth taking the time to learn about this; it’s worth taking the time to think about this.

GUEST COLUMN: Proportional representation curbs extremist movements

GUEST COLUMN: B.C.’s referendum vote is dishonest, misleading

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: Vulnerability to global disasters is our own making

For many, needs of the moment take precedence over concerns about sustainability, notes columnist

House burns in Harewood, three people displaced

Dog unaccounted for after house fire Sunday evening

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No need to wait to enforce new speed limit in the north end

If safety is the goal, why is there a ‘grace period’ for motorists to adjust, asks letter writer

COVID-19: Uptick in calls to Haven Society crisis line as restrictions ease

Organization reminds people of their range of services

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Most Read