STV is the abbreviation for the Single Transferable Vote, an electoral system of preferential voting designed to minimize wasted votes and provide proportional representation.
This is a primer for our upcoming May 12, 2009, provincial election.
A variation of STV known as BC-STV is a proposed voting system recommended for use in British Columbia by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.
This group was created by the government of British Columbia to investigate changes to the current provincial electoral system of plurality voting. We currently elect one Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for each electoral district using the Single Member Plurality electoral system, also known as First-Past-the-Post system.
The candidate with the most votes (a plurality of votes) wins the seat for the electoral district. The party with the most seats forms the government.
We have learned from experience in Canada and in BC that plurality voting systems can produce conflicting results (votes received vs. seats won) not supported by a majority.
It seems a majority of British Columbians do not necessarily like this. During a 2005 referendum the proposed BC-STV came within 2.4% of meeting the 60% threshold the British Columbia government had set for adoption.
Because of the strong majority support shown for BC-STV on May 19, 2005, the provincial government decided to hold a second referendum in the next scheduled provincial election. As a result the BC-STV will be put to the voters a second time on May 12, 2009.
Under the proposed BC-STV electoral system the same number of MLAs would be elected to the Legislative Assembly; each electoral district will have between two and seven MLAs, therefore electoral districts will be larger.
The STV proposes that the 83 85 (thanks Chris) seats be distributed into 20 districts. In the district where I live known as the Tri-Cities there are 4 seats: Coquitlam-Burke Mountain; Coquitlam-Maillardville; Port Coquitlam; and, Port Moody-Coquitlam.
Voters would indicate their first, second, third or more preferences from the candidates listed on their ballot in their electoral district. Each MLA would still represent approximately the same number of people.
If you need to find out more try this link: http://www.gov.bc.ca/referendum_info/.
To find out how STV works try this link: http://www.understandingstv.ca/voting/basic.html
There are mixed views on what the outcome might be for the BC-STV and nobody knows for sure. Here are some of the questions being asked:
Will there be more or less party politics? Will there be more women and minorities being elected? Will there be more underrepresentation of rural areas? Will more minority and coalition governments be good or bad? Will STV be too complicated? Will STV benefit BC?
What are your views?