Friday, May 12, 2017

Eeny meeny miny no

This is just a sample of the crazy bouquets of signs that were lined up on nearly every boulevard and median in our neighbourhood. I'm sure this was a common sight all over the province as we prepared for the election held here in BC earlier this week.

Results of this election proved one thing to me: we are ready for (and need) some form of proportional representation.

If we use stats reported (as of May 10), the percentages of votes cast would suggest a legislature caught in a tie. The BC Liberals and NDP would each have 35, rather than their current respective 43 and 41. But the Greens, rather than having 3 members elected to the legislature, would have a whopping 15 seats. Even those 'other' candidates, based on the 2.55% of votes they received, would have elected 2 members instead of none.

I find it of interest that it was exactly 8 years ago today that British Columbians went to the polls to vote on a referendum that might have given us a proportional system.

Needless to day, it didn't pass, or we wouldn't be facing the unsettled confusion we have today.

There had been an earlier vote on the issue in 2005, though if you look at the conditions that passage required then, it almost appears to have been rigged to fail. Revision of the voting system required 60% approval to pass, (It seems worth noting that a far bigger issue, the Brexit referendum, passed on a simple majority.) But because it only got a 57.7% approval, it had to go to a provincial referendum. In that referendum, the one that took place on this date in 2009, the motion failed -- for any number of reasons.

There are still plenty of votes to be counted, especially absentee ballots. And I'm sure there'll be a number of ridings where a recount will be needed. There's one instance where the current margin determining the winner is only 9 votes. But even that illustrates the point -- every vote counts, yes -- but in a first-past-the-post system, pretty well half of voters are not represented. Maybe by the time the next election takes place, we'll have a system that better reflects the wishes and beliefs of the people. Here's hoping.

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