15 April 2009

Greens Back BC-STV for Fairer Representation

From the BC Greens' media release:

April 15, 2009 - 19:05 — Philip Stone

Vancouver False Creek: At a media conference held on the front steps of Vancouver City Hall, BC Greens today highlighted the opportunities for women and minorities in Government offered by a new system of voting that will be put to the test on May 12, 2009.

The Green Party of BC is backing the chance to change the way the province elects its MLAs, from the current 'first past the post' system – in which voters have just one vote to elect one MLA and may see a party taking a majority of seats without a majority of the vote - to the BC Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) system, in which voters can rank their support for candidates in order of preference to make sure their ballot always counts.

In other countries, STV has enabled more women and minority candidates to be elected to Government because it more accurately translates votes into seats.

Damian Kettlewell, BC Greens' Deputy Leader and party spokesman for electoral and government accountability reform, pointed to Western Australia as an example - where women hold 47% of the Legislative Council seats under an STV system but only 20% of the seats in the Legislative Assembly, where candidates are elected using the 'first past the post' method.

"BC-STV is a chance to give all candidates – including women, independents and those from smaller parties – greater parity on the ballot," he said.

"Voters have more choice under a proportional system, which will make sure that our Legislature is a more accurate reflection of support on the ground – and that all candidates must work just as hard to earn the chance to serve."

STV was recommended as a fairer voting system for BC in 2004, by a panel of 160 ordinary people drawn at random from across the province to understand and research all the options.

They concluded that BC-STV will:

Make more votes count and virtually eliminate ‘wasted’ votes: 80-90% of voters will get one of their choices for MLA elected, compared with only 40-50% at the moment;

Give voters more candidates to choose from;

Ensure that the Legislature is more representative of voters’ views.

For more information on BC-STV, visit http://www.stv.ca/.

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