Referendum packages are being mailed starting this week. Completed ballots on the proportional representation vote must be received by Nov. 30. (Elections B.C.)

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Mail-in voting packages are on their way to registered voters across B.C., with five weeks to fill them out and mail them back in with your choice on whether to change the electoral system for the next provincial election.

Voters who don’t receive a package by Nov. 2 should ask for one, by visiting the Elections B.C. website at elections.bc.ca/ovr or calling 1-800-661-8683. Service B.C. offices around the province can also register voters and provide referendum packages.

The ballot is in two parts, with the first one a choice between the existing “first past the post” (FPTP) election system and changing to a “proportional representation” (PR) system. FPTP systems are used in Canada, the U.S., Australia and France. In B.C., a provincial election is really 87 separate elections, with the candidate with the largest number of votes becoming the MLA for each constituency.

Voters can answer just the first question if they choose. Or they can continue to the second part, and rank three different PR voting systems according to their preference.

RELATED: Canada Post union begins rotating strikes in Victoria

Elections B.C. has prepared a voting guide and a series of short videos that explain the workings of FPTP and each of the three options, dual member proportional, mixed member proportional and rural-urban proportional.

Maps of proposed new voting districts and other key details of how the new systems would work are not available until after the referendum.

Completed ballots must be received at Elections B.C. by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. Instructions and key dates are in each voting package, along with directions on how to fill out the ballot and mail it back.

The existing system tends to favour larger parties and majority governments. Proportional representation makes it easier for small parties to win seats, and coalitions or agreements are usually needed before a government can be formed. Constituencies are usually larger and multi-member.

Here is a brief description of each option:

• Dual member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of districts in B.C. would be combined into one two-member constituencies, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged.

• Mixed member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

• Rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot. In rural areas, a mixed-member proportional system using candidate lists chosen by parties would be used.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureProportional representation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay region experiences drier-than-normal July: Report

The region only received around 57% of its normal precipitation during the month

Rossland Heritage Commission looks for new members

You have until Sept. 4 to apply to become a member

Search and Rescue receives unprecedented funding from province

South Columbia Search and Rescue increase their range with addition of jet boat, ‘Second Chance’

Trail Smoke Eaters build strong rookie group

Check out the ‘Next Generation’ of Smoke Eaters, eight rookie commits to bolster line up

Nelson Leafs trade starting goalie Violette to Summerland as part of 6-player deal

Nelson acquires three players with Junior A experience

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

Most Read