02 February 2011

BC Liberal Party Weighted Vote Proposal

The BC Liberal Party on February 12th will decide whether to adopt the weighted vote or to retain the current one-member-one-vote policy. It will take a two-thirds majority for the motion on the weighted vote to pass.

Weighting votes, goes the reasoning, would be more inclusive of less populated regions and smaller constituency associations.

As the situation currently stands, in terms of vote concentration the BC Liberal Party truly only represents a handful of ridings, all in the lower Mainland. And now, during the current leadership race (and the last one that elected Gordon Campbell), thousands of new members are being signed up in single ridings, three in Surrey alone. Certain campaigns are rumoured to be virtually ignoring other ridings.

Additional rumour suggests a movement afoot to nix the weighted vote, thus favouring those leadership campaigns that have been most active in bulk membership drives. That all six candidates have declared support for the change has not stopped the seeming dirty tricks, including delegate stacking.

But back to the weighted vote... Under this proposal, each of the 85 BC Liberal constituency associations (CA) would receive a value of 100 points. Therefore, the vote of a member whose CA has 100 members would be valued at 1 point, a CA with 500 members would award each vote a value of 1/5 point and a CA with only 20 members would value each vote at 5 points.

In this way, the voting interests of each region of the province is equally represented in the Party.

In principle, one-member-one-vote appears to be the most democratic. However, it appears less so when you consider the following situation in which one riding has five members, the other 500:

Each of the one out of five members in the smaller CA must work harder to represent the BC Liberal Party in their riding. Such is not the case with one out of 500 members. In other words, members in low-member CAs must pull more weight.

Should the votes of members in such CAs count for less, or not at all? Because that is what results under the current OMOV system; three or four ridings ultimately determine the outcome.

The bottom-line choice for Party members: for the BCLP to be, in terms of actual vote representation, the 'Surrey Liberal Party' or that it live up to its name and represent the voting interests of members throughout the province.

ETA: Have just signed up for membership (eek!) because there's no way I want to miss the opportunity of being 1 out of 70,000 90,000 who will choose the next Premier of this province. How long I'll remain a member is another issue. I like being a non-partisan, so we'll see.

ETA2: The BCLP web form, like 99 out of 100 web forms, includes a mandatory phone field. To get the form to go through I had to use an obviously fake number. Damned annoying.

ETA Feb 12: The weighted vote was chosen by an overwhelming majority! By 1,319 to 23 or 98.3 per cent. Well done, delegates!

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