In choosing one or more proportional voting systems to appear opposite First Past the Post (FPTP) on the upcoming BC referendum on electoral reform, one must sooner or later consider concrete options. This document enumerates eight possible systems and provides a one-page description of each.
The eight selected systems are listed in the table below. Five are forms of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) that would result in a two-tier legislature consisting of district MLAs and regional MLAs (Systems 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7); the other three maintain a single tier of local MLAs but associate them with multi-member districts. Six of the models use a single-vote ballot (Systems 1 to 6), one introduces a 2nd vote (System 7), and one employs a ranked ballot (System 8). Four of the options entail competition among candidates of the same party (Systems 5 to 8).
|System||Name||Number of Regions||Tiers||Ballot||Intra-Party Competition|
|1||Closed-List MMP with FPTP ballot||4 to 8||2||1-vote||no|
|2||List-Free MMP with FPTP ballot||4 to 8||2||1-vote||no|
|3||List-Free MMP with secondary candidates||4 to 8||2||1-vote||no|
|4||Dual Member Proportional||1 to 5||1||1-vote||no|
|5||List-Free MMP with rankable candidates||4 to 8||2||1-vote||yes|
|6||Dual Member Proportional with rankable candidates||1 to 5||1||1-vote||yes|
|7||Open-List MMP with Bavarian metrics||7 to 8||2||2-vote||yes|
|8||Single Transferable Vote||16 to 22||1||ranked||yes|
By submitting eight options for consideration, one of my objectives is to steer decision-makers away from inadvertently introducing ticket-splitting tactics into provincial elections. These tactics emerge under certain two-vote MMP models which exclude district votes from the calculations that allocate compensatory seats to parties. Under such systems, many British Columbians would have to endure appeals to give their district votes to a large party and their regional votes to a small party. These appeals would be based on the expectation that the small party could not win at the district level, whereas the large party may win so many district seats that it receives no regional seats. The eight selected systems minimize or avoid tactical considerations of this nature while collectively offering a diverse set of possibilities for voting and representation.
The system descriptions are followed by a discussion, a glossary, and recommended reading.
The catalog was prepared with contributions and editorial assistance from Charles Cares. Click the link near the top of this post to download the PDF.