BC-STV is simply no better than our current electoral system

By David Schreck

I’m voting against the proposed single-transferable-vote system, not for first-past-the-post—and for good reason.

Supporters of BC-STV say voting is as simple as 1, 2, 3, but the way votes are counted is anything but simple!

While there would be two to seven MLAs elected in each of 20 ridings—versus 85 ridings under our current system—you still only get one vote, hence the word single as the first word in STV.

The numbers are used differently for each voter in the very complicated counting rules. It is a mistake to think of the rankings as greater choice; where STV is used, many voters stop numbering after they finish with candidates from their preferred party.

In B.C.’s 2005 election, 25 political parties fielded candidates, compared to 14 parties in Ireland. British Columbians had more choice without STV.

With single-member constituencies you know who your MLA is, and if you want to lobby or get help from an MLA from another party in another constituency, nothing prevents that. The one-to-one accountability of our current system would be lost with STV.

Most MLAs currently live in or near their constituency. With large multiple-MLA constituencies, all of those elected could come from one community to the disadvantage of those who have historically had local representation. It is common in Vancouver for voters to complain that most councilors come from the West Side; this could also be a problem with STV.

In Ireland, the central parties limit how many candidates are allowed to run in each electoral area, while in Malta and Tasmania parties run more candidates than there are positions to fill.

No one knows what would happen in B.C. Many of the claims that are made about STV cannot be demonstrated and frequently depend on assumptions of how parties and voters would behave, but they behave differently in Ireland, Malta, and Tasmania. There is no place you can go and see how STV would work if it were adopted for B.C.

When New Zealand changed its electoral system from first past the post to mixed-member proportional representation, it held two referendums. The first in 1992 was nonbinding and asked whether FPTP should be replaced and, if so, which of four systems people favoured; MMP received 70 percent support, STV only 17 percent.

Since a majority wanted change, a second binding referendum was held in 1993 between MMP and FPTP. That resulted in the adoption of MMP in New Zealand.

British Columbians won’t be given the opportunity to vote on MMP, and STV is nothing like it.

With FPTP the candidate with the most votes wins; with MMP some MLAs are elected that way but others are elected from a party list, so parties with at least five percent of the popular vote gain representation in parliament.

With STV, candidates win with a percentage that is much higher than the five percent commonly used with MMP—12.5 percent to 33.3 percent depending on the number of MLAs to be elected in each area. It is doubtful whether STV would benefit any small party. When party support from B.C.’s 2005 election is totaled for the proposed 20 electoral areas, no third party comes close to getting even 12.5 percent of the popular vote in any region.

It is true that governments are formed in our current system with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, but that doesn’t mean that those who didn’t vote for the government are of one mind and willing to form a coalition to replace it.

STV doesn’t prevent a party from winning over 50 percent of the seats even though it has less than 50 percent of the vote. That happened four times in Malta, causing a constitutional crisis in 1981. Malta now adds seats when necessary to correct that outcome, as it had to do in 2008. If BC-STV results in a party forming government with more seats than its percentage of the vote, it does not contain a provision for a fix like Malta adopted.

No one would pretend that our political system is without faults, but it would be an enormous mistake to attribute those faults to how we elect our MLAs. In Ireland, Malta, and Tasmania you can find the same disappointments with politics that you see here.

David Schreck is the secretary-treasurer of the No BC-STV Campaign Society.

See also:
Single transferable vote would break down political barriers in B.C.




Feb 13, 2009 at 9:03pm

Lots of faulty arguments here--which is unusual since Schreck is rightly known for the rigour of his analysis. A few quick points.

1) Schreck says that STV fails to give voters more choice because they only have one vote. But it does offer more choice in the sense that the vote you cast in a multi-member STV district is very likely to help elect at least one candidate running for the party of your choice. As a result, relatively few votes are "wasted"--cast for parties that fail to win any representation in a riding. Under first-past-the-post, only those who vote for the winning candidate in their riding find their political choice reflected in the result. And that's usually just a minority of the voters because winning candidates in BC elections usually win less than 50% of the votes.

2) Schreck is right that in the smaller STV districts (eg. 2- and 3-member districts), the thresholds are high and hence prohibitive for small parties. But there are enough larger magnitude ridings across the province to give a party like the Greens an excellent chance of winning seats. That is clearly not the case under the current system, where the lowest threshold to win a seat (typically 35% or better) is still higher than the highest threshold that applies in all but one of the STV districts.

3) STV doesn't guarantee that women will be better represented--it depends a lot on the nomination practices of parties. But STV changes the rules of the game in a way that makes it rational for parties to present a diverse slate of candidates in multi-member ridings. The current winner-take-all approach to nominations in single-member districts provides little incentive (or opportunity) for parties to assemble a socially representative roster of candidates.

Wayne Smith

Feb 13, 2009 at 11:35pm

This entire article is half-truth, misrepresentation, and just plain gibberish.

Voters should read the report of the BC Citizens' Assembly and make up their own minds.


More info: www.stv.ca

Wilf Day

Feb 14, 2009 at 9:54am

David Scheck is not voting for first-past-the-post? Lie number one: he's voting for first-past-the-post, because he's used to the way the game has been played, and likes it.

British Columbians had more choice without STV? Lie number two: BC elects MLAs from only two parties. In the last election in Ireland they elected MPs from six parties, plus four independents. And the two big parties always run several candidates in each district, again giving voters more choice. But Ireland is not BC? True, but even in Tasmania they elect candidates from three parties, including four Greens from the five five-seat districts.

Most councilors coming from the West Side could also be a problem with STV? Lie number three: East Vancouver and West Vancouver are different districts in BC-STV.

STV is nothing like MMP? Then why does Fair Vote Canada like both of them? Those 160 diligent Citizens designed an excellent MMP model and an excellent STV model. Then 80% of them determined that their BC-STV model fit BC's geography and political culture better than their MMP model.

With STV, candidates win with a percentage that is much higher than the five percent commonly used with MMP? A red herring. German MMP requires five percent nation-wide. STV has no province-wide threshold: a Green candidate is almost certain to be elected from the seven-seat Capital Region and one from six-seat Vancouver West, no matter what percent the Green Party gets province-wide.

Wilf Day

Antony Hodgson

Feb 14, 2009 at 3:42pm

I’m glad to see that David Schreck acknowledges the problems with our current voting system and does not attempt to defend it. He himself acknowledges that he is not actually voting FOR First Past the Post (which is in some ways strange, because in other places he does try to defend it, arguing that it’s undemocratic to give representation to voters who represent only 25-30% of the population, but clearly he understands that that argument will not go over well with British Columbians, who are all too familiar with FPTP’s flaws).

He scatters accusations left and right without providing a more balanced assessment of the situation. My apologies in advance, therefore, for the length of this posting, but it takes more space to refute his claims properly than it did to cast the aspersions in the first place.

Schreck argues that BC voters have more choice than Irish voters, noting that there are 25 parties in BC, but only 14 in Ireland. However, the Irish have effective choice – with our rules, it is virtually impossible to elect anyone from other than the two dominant parties, whereas the Irish can quite easily elect representatives from 4 or 5 parties. This produces greater diversity of political expression in Ireland.

Schreck implies that it’s unfair that we would only have a single vote under STV, even though multiple MLAs will be elected in each district, but he’s blinkered by a winner-takes-all mentality. He wants his faction to control all the seats in a district, rather than giving each subgroup of voters the representative they prefer. If you were at a restaurant with Schreck, he’d want to order the same dish for everyone at the table rather than letting each person choose the one they’d really like. The reason each person has a single vote with STV is because the operating principle is ”˜one person, one vote’ – that’s fair.

He also suggests that BC-STV would only work if voters ranked candidates from more than one party. This isn’t true at all – with STV, 90% or more of voters will likely elect one of their top three choices (based on Scotland’s experience in 2007), so it would be perfectly reasonable to rank only candidates from your preferred party. Voters who did this would have the final say over which candidates from that party get elected. If they chose to express lower preferences for a candidate from a different party, they may, in some small way, also help that other person get elected, but most of their vote would likely go to someone from their preferred party.

I’m particularly offended by Schreck trying to scare voters away from considering STV by describing STV counting rules as ”˜very complicated’. He has shown that he has a dim view of the intelligence of BC voters when he says that “very few people in the province could possibly understand [STV]”. In contrast, proponents understand that BC voters are as well-educated and intelligent as people anywhere; unlike Schreck, we do not regard our fellow citizens as less intelligent than the Irish, Australians, Scots, New Zealanders, Indians, Maltese or others, including the Academy Award nominators, who successfully use STV.

Schreck misunderstands the role of an MLA when he says that you can get help from an MLA from another party in another constituency. I have tried doing this and the first question I get asked is “Are you my constituent?” When I answer “No”, I am told, “I’m sorry, but you’re not my responsibility; please contact your own MLA”. Because I cannot vote for that MLA, that MLA is not accountable to me and will not give me the time of day.

In contrast, with STV every voter will have MLAs from both the government and opposition representing them, so they can go to whichever one they feel will be most sympathetic to their concerns. This reduces pork-barrel politics because every district has a government MLA, so the government can’t punish a district for voting the ”˜wrong’ way.

Accountability is actually enhanced because each MLA knows that they need to be fully supported by a constituency’s worth of voters to get elected, so they will put considerable effort into understanding who their supporters are and will be highly responsive to them.

Schreck argues that MLAs will disproportionately represent one area of a city, citing the example of the traditional West Side/East Side divisions in Vancouver. First of all, this tends not to happen with STV. Experience in Ireland and Australia shows that representatives are widely dispersed geographically. Furthermore, MLAs cannot afford to ignore any area of the city or any outlying community because upwards of 80% of the votes under STV are needed to determine the outcome of an election (as opposed to barely a third of the votes under our current system) – if they ignore even the smallest town, this can hurt their prospects in the next election.

Schreck says that some elements of how STV works differ from place to place, so it will be hard to know how STV will work here, but you can see how BC voters have used STV ballots in an online simulation at bc.demochoice.org in which over 10,000 British Columbians cast ballots in 2005. There, you will see that women were elected in direct proportion to how often they were nominated (27%), whereas in the actual election, only 22% won.

Schreck also tries to distract voters by suggesting that MMP is somehow better than STV. Aside from the fact that he is vehemently opposed to MMP (which raises suspicions about his motivations in mentioning it), MMP is not on the ballot this year. The Citizens’ Assembly considered MMP but ended up favouring STV 80% to 20%. If a voter believes that MMP is better than STV, I would encourage them to support STV this year to gain real reform now and to establish the principle that electoral reform is possible. The Citizens’ Assembly recommended a formal review of the new voting system after three elections, so there would be a natural opportunity to put forward an MMP proposal at that time. If MMP supporters help defeat electoral reform now, it will be difficult to persuade the new government to continue a reform process as they will likely interpret a defeat as a lack of public interest in reform and will not be willing to expend political capital in making a change, especially since MMP has been turned down by the Citizens' Assembly in BC and by the public in both Ontario and PEI. If this obstacle were overcome, any new process could not realistically begin until after the 2013 election (where it might play a role as an election promise), and any potential reform would not likely be put to voters until the 2017 election at the earliest for implementation in 2021. Do we really want to wait another 12 years for reform? Since STV achieves many of the same goals as MMP, it would be much better to adopt STV now and take advantage of the natural opportunity for review after three elections that would be implied in that adoption.

Schreck feigns concern for small parties and independents, apparently worrying that a smaller party (the Greens, say) won’t be able to get elected. Since he is on record claiming that such a party winning seats when they command 12-33% of the vote would be undemocratic, I think it's fair to question his motives in arguing this point – if he were being consistent, surely he should tout this as a strength of STV and one of the reasons he would support it. In any case, let’s assume he’s being sincere here and is truly concerned that the Greens won’t win seats. Since the Green Party has formally endorsed BC-STV, does Schreck think they’re stupid and can’t properly assess their chances under STV? Surely it’s more reasonable to conclude that the Greens believe they will be competitive under STV and that’s one of the reasons why Schreck doesn’t want STV to pass. In fact, he’s flat out wrong in his assertion that no third party came close to 12.5% of the vote. In the proposed North Island / South Coast district, the Greens earned 16% of the vote in 2005. On the North Shore, they earned over 12%. In the Capital Region and in Vancouver, it was between 10 and 11%. Imagine if Green supporters did not have to vote strategically, but had a voting system which encouraged them to honestly express their preferences, knowing that their vote would either help them elect the candidate they preferred, or at least not be wasted and help them elect a candidate from one of the other parties that most shares their views?

Finally, Schreck trots out his tired example of Malta’s ”˜constitutional crisis’, but neglects to say that all that happened was that a party which won 49% of the vote won 52% of the seats in an election which only two parties contested. Firstly, this outcome would never happen in BC because we have a multiparty environment in which 10-15% of voters currently do not vote for one of the two major parties, and this would be further encouraged by BC-STV since such votes would not be ineffective as they are now. In addition, the 3% difference between votes and seats that Malta experienced is about as much ”˜distortion’ as happens under STV. In contrast, here in BC we have parties routinely winning majority power on 37-39% of the vote – ie, with distortions of 15% and more. In fact, the average ”˜distortion’ in Ireland under STV is about 3.5%, vs about 20% in BC. If we had a repeat of the 1996 BC election under STV in which one party won 39% of the vote and the other won 42%, each of these parties would likely win a little over 40% of the seats each and would have to decide whether to work with one another or seek a coalition with a third party.

Antony Hodgson
Director, Fair Voting BC
Supporting the near-unanimous recommendation of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
Check stv.ca for information on the May 12th referendum

David Schreck

Feb 14, 2009 at 9:13pm

Since most British Columbians vote for one of two major parties and like in the current system those parties would win most of the seats with BC-STV, it really isn’t saying much to claim that under STV voters would likely help elect at least one candidate running for the party of their choice. Small parties would not be assured proportional representation unless BC adopted a system like that used in Germany (mixed member proportional representation) which is not included in May’s referendum.

Anthony Hodgson is right that the Greens got more than 12.5 % North Shore-Sea-to-Sky (where they spent over 40% of their campaign budget), but under STV it would take 20.0% to win in that electoral area.

In 2005 in the Capital Region the Greens got 10.7% (12.5% would be required under STV). In North Island-South Coast the Greens got 12.2% (20.0% would be required under STV). In North Shore-Sea-to-Sky the Greens got 15.8% (20.0% would be required under STV). In Vancouver-East the Greens got 7.6% (16.7% would be required under STV). In Vancouver-West the Greens got 11.3% (14.3% would be required under STV).

If the purpose of advocating for a complicated electoral system is to favour the Greens, then STV is the wrong system. Mixed-member proportional representation would probably give them a half dozen seats, but STV cannot be shown to deliver any. No one should argue that it is worth changing to a complicated voting system on the hope that it might deliver one or two seats for the Greens. That wouldn’t change anything of substance in B.C. politics.

David Schreck
See http://www.strategicthoughts.com
And http://www.nostv.org


Feb 16, 2009 at 9:09am

"Lots of faulty arguments here" I think not. What I sense is that Green Party supporters are desperate for a voice in the Leg and will allow themselves to be sucked into any campaign that might accomplish that elusive goal. If Gordon Campbell saw fit to make STV a possibility then rest assured nothing good can come of it.

More to the point...Green supporters have no sense of political reality and will continue to make it difficult for the neocon Liberals to be unseated so I have to wonder about two things: What will be left to protect after another BC Liberal term in office and is there anyone more gullible and self absorbed than a Green Party politician and their painfully earnest supporters?

Antony Hodgson

Feb 16, 2009 at 9:45am

David, the Greens are supporting BC-STV because they know that they will be competitive in many electoral districts. You know as well as I do that there are three reasons that the Greens will do better than you have suggested in your reply:

First, Green voters suffer acutely from the strategic voting dilemma - “Do I cast my vote for the candidate I actually support, knowing that my vote will be ineffective and disregarded, or do I vote for the NDP or Liberal candidate I dislike less than the other?” This is a huge problem for Green supporters - pre-election polls consistently show the Green party winning 50% or more support than they win on election day, so it’s quite reasonable to suggest that Green party support under a fair voting system in which their supporters’ votes can be honestly cast could easily rise by 50%. On the North Shore, where they won 16% of the vote in 2005, they might then quite reasonably hope to exceed the 20% needed to win a seat there. They are confident that they will take seats in the Capital Region (10.8% + 50% could easily exceed the 12.5% needed) and on the west side of Vancouver (10.5% + 50% could easily exceed the 14% needed), and they feel competitive in many other places.

Second, as you well know, a candidate does not need a full quota’s worth of support from first preferences to win a seat under BC-STV. To take your North Shore example, the Liberals won 55% of the vote, the NDP 27% and the Greens 16% in 2005. If this reflected the party votes in a future election (remember that people might vote differently if their votes actually mattered), then the Liberals would likely win two seats right off the bat (2 clear quotas of 20%) and the NDP one seat. The final seat would be an interesting contest – Liberal party supporters would still control 15%, NDP supporters would control 7%, and Green supporters 16%. Who wins this final seat? It will either be the Green candidate or the third Liberal candidate, and the NDP supporters have control of this. If the Liberal party has been insulting and adversarial towards the NDP in the campaign, how likely is it that NDP supporters will express lower preferences for the remaining Liberal candidate? They’re far more likely to either give their lower preferences to the Green candidate or to simply let their ballots be exhausted. In either case, this pushes the Green candidate ahead of the third Liberal candidate for that fourth seat.

Third, even if the Green candidate were trailing both the NDP and Liberal candidates at this final stage (say the Liberal and NDP candidates each had 15% of the vote and the Green candidate had 10% and was therefore going to be the one eliminated), the supporters of the Green candidate would determine which of the Liberal and NDP candidates would take that fourth seat. Again, if one party had campaigned negatively against the Greens in an attempt to persuade Green supporters to vote for them instead, do you really think Green supporters would be responsive to that? Indeed not! You can’t insult and woo someone at the same time. Candidates from other parties will therefore recognize that it will be very much in their own interests to reach out to supporters of other parties by emphasizing what values they hold in common, in hopes that those voters will give them their lower preferences. When candidates do discuss differences, they will tend to discuss them more respectfully so as not to alienate other candidates’ supporters. In this way, STV encourages the kind of respectful communication that will enable parties to build bridges once in the legislature and to create legislation that reflects the concerns of a true majority of the voters.

David, I know that you’ve said elsewhere that it is undemocratic for supporters of parties and candidates that only win 20-30% of the vote to have representation in our legislature, but that just shows how out of touch with the values of BC voters you are. The Greens, along with most supporters of all the political parties, understand that STV will ensure that the votes of their supporters will be treated with respect, no matter how many seats they win, and that’s why they’re fully behind BC-STV. On this point, I think you should stop being paternalistic and trying to tell Green party supporters how they should vote – they’re old enough to have figured it out for themselves.

Antony Hodgson
Director, Fair Voting BC
Supporting the recommendation of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
Check stv.ca for information on the May 12th referendum


Feb 17, 2009 at 11:59pm

Just yesterday I asked a supporter of BCSTV to explain how a vote is counted in BCSTV. They couldn't, even after studying the system. That's all I need to know. A voting system needs to be easy to understand.

People should not just read the report of the BC Citizens' Assembly and decide. The report is biased towards BCSTV (which is should be as it's recommending the system). People should read the report and the thoughts of people against BCSTV and decide.

There is no proof any third party MLA will be elected. Anyone stating otherwise is a liar or don't understand BCSTV

No one has addressed what will happen in the rural ridings like Cariboo-Thomson. The riding will take in Kamloops, Williams Lake and Quesnel. However, because Kamloops is by far the largest city, it's likely at all 5 MLA will come from Kamloops, leaving Williams Lake and Quesnel out an MLA they can go see. Is that fair? Maybe to Lower Mainlanders but not to the rest of BC. I love how someone in a earlier comment says that people can't ignore a smaller city because you need the votes of 80% of the riding but says earlier you can get in with 13% of the vote.

We need electoral reform but we shouldn't rush into it. We have time to decide on a system everyone can understand

Antony Hodgson

Feb 20, 2009 at 2:43pm

Hi Ryan29,

Thanks for your comments. Maybe I can take a crack at answering.

How is the vote counted? The basic idea is "win 17,000 votes, get elected". With First Past the Post, it takes anywhere from 2500 (Peace River North) to 13,300 (Comox Valley) votes to get elected, and the winner 'takes all' - that is, all the people who didn't support the winner still have to live with that person as their MLA. On average, this is about half of BC voters. To fix this and make sure that almost everyone gets an MLA they support, we need to have more than one MLA representing each part of BC - that's why STV uses multimember districts.

With STV, you cast a ranked choice ballot - you typically have a choice of more than one candidate from each major party and you list your preferences within or across parties as you wish. Counting is done in rounds.

In the first round, your ballot is given to your first-ranked candidate. If no-one has enough votes to be elected (the number required is a bit less than one riding's worth of votes - about 17,000 on average across BC), the last place candidate is eliminated and the ballots naming that person are redistributed ('transferred') to the next choice on each ballot. Candidates are elected if they have the number of votes required. This process is repeated until someone has enough votes to be elected.

The part about STV that's hardest to explain quickly is what happens if a candidate is very popular and easily wins more votes than they need. Imagine that 34,000 people support a particular candidate, X. X has a running mate from the same party that these voters like, but just not quite as much as X. Because there are 34,000 of them, they really have a right to elect two MLAs. How can this happen if they all voted for X first? Simple - treat each ballot like a dollar and give 'change' when the whole vote is not needed. In this case, each of the 34,000 voters uses half their vote to elect X, and then gives the remaining half to their next choice (say, Y, from the same party). Y then gets another 34,000 half votes, which is equivalent to 17,000 whole votes, and therefore enough to be elected.

Hope this explanation helps. I know it's not as easy to describe as 'whoever has the most votes wins', but think of STV as being like a wordprocessor and FPTP as being like a typewriter. It may take a bit more explanation, but everyone can learn how it works and it makes writing much easier in the end. In the same way, voting with STV is about the simplest way to produce legislatures which more accurately reflect what the voters say with their ballots while still enabling voters to choose specific candidates and have their votes treated equally.

Re: third party MLA's being elected. You're right that there can't be a proof, but it's clear that third party candidates have historically come much closer to the electoral threshold needed under STV than they have to the number needed under FPTP. That's why the Greens have fully endorsed STV. Remember too that the Greens poll higher than the number of people who vote for them. A big reason for this is that their supporters know their vote is useless under FPTP, so they vote strategically. They wouldn't have to do this with STV, so they'd likely win many more votes, which would be enough to put them over the threshold in many places. The Citizens' Assembly members liked this threshold because it would tend to keep very small single issue groups from winning, instead encouraging more well-rounded parties to emerge.

Finally, there's no contradiction between the statement of 80% of votes mattering vs 12.5% being required. In a 5 seat district, a candidate gets elected on 16.7% of the vote, so 5x16.7 = 83% of the voters are pretty much guaranteed to end up with an MLA they voted for, even though only 17% is needed for any one candidate.

There may well be some candidates who only campaign around Kamloops. That might work for one candidate from each major party, but the second candidate will be highly motivated to go to Quesnel and Williams Lake and all the smaller towns to get their 17% of the vote. Right now, Kamloops has only 80,000 people out of the 190,000 in the region, or just about 40% of the total population. That means that the population outside Kamloops would have enough voting power to control the election of 3 of the 5 Cariboo seats, regardless of how Kamloopers voted. If some candidates focus on addressing the needs of people outside Kamloops and become known for that, they'll easily win election. If they stay in town, they'll lose.

In addition, the Cariboo region is quite evenly split - in the current Cariboo North and South regions, both seats went to the NDP even though they had only a small 1% lead over the Liberals. Conversely, Kamloops saw its two seats go to the Liberals even though they had only a small 3% lead over the NDP. With STV, each party would probably elect one Liberal and one NDP in the Kamloops area and the same in the Quesnel / Williams Lake area. The fifth seat would probably be won mainly on votes in the south from the Merritt/Lillooet area. In any event, the outcome under STV will very accurately reflect how Cariboo region voters vote, and that's one of the main reasons the Cariboo-area members of the Citizens' Assembly chose BC-STV.

Finally, as for the urgency, I think it's quite unlikely that there will be another opportunity for reform in the foreseeable future if we don't take this one. By voting in favour of change, we show that change is possible, and further refinements can be made. In my view, the ability to effectively choose my MLA is incredibly important - it will let me forge a strong relationship with my MLA and keep them more accountable to their constituents, so come May 12th, I'll be voting in favour.

Antony Hodgson
Director, Fair Voting BC
Supporting the recommendation of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
Check stv.ca for information on the May 12th referendum

Reader via e-mail

Feb 23, 2009 at 1:10pm

Why isn’t anyone talking about how the Electoral Map ,under the propose Single Transferrable Voting System (STV), will change MLA representation in BC? According to the government’s Referendum Information Office, the number of electoral districts will shrink from 85 to 20. Districts will be much larger and elect from 2 to 7 MLAs each. For example, the Capital Region (Victoria) will be the largest in the province. It will encompass all municipalities in Victoria and vicinity, as well as those in Port Renfrew, Jordan, Galiano Island, Salt Spring Island, North Saanich, Sidney, Sooke, Metchosin and the Highlands. In such a huge riding, successful candidates could be elected with as little as 15% of the popular vote. How does any of this make sense? And why isn’t such a significant change getting any attention from the media? It’s time for someone to publish the proposed new electoral maps so that voters everywhere will know what their new electoral district will be and have some understanding about how much local representation will be diluted under STV. Check it out at http://www.gov.bc.ca/referendum_info/first_past_the_post_bc_stv/electora...

John Amon