A new approach to Democracy


May 17, 2004
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The Canuckistan Plains
In Canada, we are currently using a first past the post electoral system, which has been criticized as being unfair, and not representative of the popular vote. The province of British Columbia, through consultation with a first of it's kind citizen's assembly, has sought and found a new approach to democracy which may better reflect the will of the people.

I understand that, as a Canadian issue, this may not interest many of you, however, I am interested in what you all think. Is this a good idea?

From today's Globe and Mail:

Vancouver — Move over Ireland, Malta and Tasmania. You may soon have company.
British Columbia's one-of-a-kind citizens assembly has voted to join those far-flung islands and elect future politicians with a radical, rarely used system called Single Transferable Vote.

If the recommendation is approved by voters in the provincial election next year, the switch will be the first major change in years to the traditional first-past-the post electoral system. The proposed system is designed to break the stranglehold of political parties, give voters more choice, make it easier for independent candidates to be elected and increase the likelihood of minority governments.
Under the STV system, all of B.C. would be divided into multimember ridings and voters would rank candidates in their riding by preference — 1, 2, 3, etc., instead of just putting an "X" on the ballot beside their first choice.

A complicated formula would then be used to determine the multiple winners in each riding. Generally, the winning candidates would be reflective of the popular vote.

"There is growing skepticism of politicians and political parties," said assembly chairman Jack Blaney, after the vote. "Members wanted more choice than a simple X on the ballot."


This approach appeals to me. I could actually cast a vote for the long-shot canidate without seeing it as a 'wasted' vote. I think this is an exciting possibilty. And if BC is brave enough to take the lead, in a few years I imagine we would see other North American jurisdictions examining the same idea - or even looking at other electoral reforms.

I believe significant election reform has the potential to re-ignite interest in politics for many people who are currently are disillusioned with the system. Not that it would be the cure-all or anything, but it would be a step in the right direction.

Bob Hubbard

MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Aug 4, 2001
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Land of the Free
It'll never happen in the US. The "Big 2" will do everything in their power to hold on to power. Any system not stacked in their favor will never be allowed here.

Personally, I like it. Theres often been more than 1 candidate I like. Allowing a sliding scale like that would give more of a voice to the people.


I rather like the idea of a sliding scale. I don't know if it would work in the US or not.

What I would like to see, is reform of the electoral college. I think each state should break up their electoral votes based on the percentage of the popular vote, as opposed to winner take all.

Imagine the possibilities if the candidates actually had to fight for each and every state... I think even the 3rd party candidates would fair better than they do now.

The only question I have is, how would it be implemented? Say for instance in California, the breakdown was:

52% Kerry,
36% Bush
8% Nader
4% Bednarik

Would it be feasible to break down the 55 electoral votes as:

28.6 Kerry
19.8 Bush
.4 Nader
.2 Bednarik

Or would that be too little of a difference to work?