Large majority of B.C. residents vote against proportional representation in referendum on electoral reform

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      For the third time in less than 14 years, British Columbians have rejected a proposal to change their electoral system.

      Today, Elections B.C. announced that 61.3 percent voted to retain first-past-the-post, in which MLAs are elected in geographic constituencies.

      In the 2018 referendum on electoral reform, only 38.7 percent voted in favour of proportional representation.

      There was a 42.6 percent turnout in a vote that was conducted by mail.

      The defeat of proportional representation is a crushing blow for the B.C. Greens.

      Their leader, Andrew Weaver, made this issue a centrepiece of his caucus's agreement with the NDP caucus to keep the John Horgan–led government in power.

      In the 2017 election, the B.C. Greens attracted 16.7 percent of the votes but only elected three MLAs in the 87-seat B.C. legislature.

      Those who voted yes had a choice of three proportional-representation systems on the ballot: mixed member proportional, dual member proportional, and rural-urban proportional.

      B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver and Premier John Horgan both campaigned in favour of a yes vote.

      In a vote that coincided with the 2009 provincial election, 60.91 percent of British Columbians voted to retain first past the post. The only other option at that time was the single transferrable vote.

      In 2005, 57.69 percent voted to change the electoral system to STV. However in that year, the legislated threshold for success was 60 percent of valid votes and a simple majority in at least 60 percent of all electoral districts.

      Watch the Elections B.C. video outlining the different options in the 2018 referendum on electoral reform.

      Premier Horgan said today that "British Columbians have now spoken and chosen to stick with the current voting system."

      "This referendum was held because we believe that this decision needed to be up to people, not politicians," Horgan added. "While many people, myself included, are disappointed in the outcome, we respect people's decision."