Electoral Reform

Democracy depends on nearly every voter having a small but appreciable probability of influencing the outcome of an election. Unfortunately, under the current First Past the Post voting system, Canadians who live in safe ridings have basically no chance of affecting who does or does not get elected. Even in closely contested ridings, many Canadians can only have an impact by voting tactically for a party they don’t like. If a voter has virtually no possibility of altering the outcome of an election in the way he or she desires, politicians have little incentive to serve that voter. This, as I see it, is the main reason to switch to a form of proportional representation, which gives everyone influence over how they are governed.

But what voting system is best?

The most widely discussed forms of proportional representation include Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP).  See my post, Selected Videos on Electoral Reform (Nov 2015), for helpful videos on those systems.

But there’s a brand new system that really interests me: Dual Member Proportional, or DMP. The basic idea is that two MPs are elected in each riding. The first is simply the candidate with the most votes. The second is elected in a way that adjusts the overall distribution of seats to match the popular vote.  I worked with two Ryerson University media production students—Vincent Piette and Michal Heuston—to create the following video explaining DMP:

Please visit votingreform.ca for a fantastic visualization of what would have happened in the 2015 election under different voting systems. The visualization uses my Canada-wide simulation results for DMP.

Also see my two blog posts on Dual Member Proportional:

Yes, It’s Proportional (May 2016)
So what’s this brand new voting system they’re talking about in Prince Edward Island? (Feb 2016)

And here’s my submission to the Parliament of Canada’s Special Committee on Electoral Reform:

Incentives Matter: A Case for Dual Member Proportional (Sep 2016)

DMP was developed in Alberta in 2013 to address Canadian priorities for electoral reform. More information can be found on the DMP website.