How to Fix the Quebec Government’s Proposed Mixed Electoral System

The National Assembly of Quebec (photo credit: Assembléetest)

The Introduction of Bill 39 (September 25, 2019) specifies a mixed compensatory electoral system to appear in a referendum as an option for future elections to the National Assembly of Quebec. Unfortunately, the proposal includes several ill-advised features. Some of these features will make the system appear rigged against supporters of small parties. Some of these features will create an incentive for parties to engage in undesirable campaign tactics, which will further undermine the legitimacy of the system. The proposed system can and should be fixed. This article identifies the smallest set of changes necessary to offer Quebecers a sound and respectable alternative to the status quo.

Continue reading →

Biproportional MMP

I recently prepared a Google Slides presentation on Biproportional MMP, a variant of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system. The distinguishing feature of Biproportional MMP is that the top-up seats which make election results proportional are allocated at the territory-wide level, then distributed among smaller regions. Others had thought of this idea before me, but I felt there was a need for a single reference describing the model and defining an electoral formula.

Click here for the Google Slides presentation of Biproportional MMP

Notes on the Media’s Coverage of the 2018 BC Referendum

From BC Referendum Made Simple (Bee Current): A 3D model of the BC legislature

In 2018, British Columbians were asked whether to continue using the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system for provincial elections, or switch to a form of proportional representation (PR). During the voting period and preceding months, a handful of journalists published neutral, well-researched articles to help British Columbians vote Yes or No according to their true preferences.1

Unfortunately, several of the major newspapers appeared to forgo serious investigation, and instead helped the No side sustain a narrative that the NDP government had “stacked the deck” in favour of change. The papers published numerous opinion pieces that undermined trust in the referendum and would have convinced reasonable people to vote No even if they preferred PR.

To illustrate the media’s coverage of the 2018 BC Referendum, I offer notes on five markedly negative and poorly researched newspaper columns and editorials. The first article is well intentioned, but the pieces become increasingly biased and misleading. The final editorial contains factual errors that even the No side advertisers were unwilling to make explicit.

Continue reading →

BC Referendum Video

Here’s a video explaining the options on the 2018 BC Referendum. The options include the current First Past the Post voting system, and three forms of proportional representation. Here’s how each proportional system is summarized in the video:

  • Dual Member Proportional maintains 100% local MLAs
  • Mixed Member Proportional mixes local and regional representation
  • Rural Urban Proportional maximizes voter choice

The video was animated and produced by Brendan Gallagher, and I collaborated with him on writing the script. Hopefully it will help British Columbians learn about proportional representation and gain a basic understanding of the options.

Article on Ranked Ballots for Toronto

Toronto City Hall (photo credit: Jérôme Decq)

The Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT) campaigns for the adoption of ranked ballots (or instant-runoff voting) for municipal elections. I recently wrote an article for their blog. The article explains why proportional representation advocates (like me!) should support their cause — even though ranked ballots alone do not achieve proportionality. Here’s it is:

Why Ranked Ballots are the Right Reform, Right Now, for Toronto

If you read the article and have any thoughts, please comment here.