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.

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds finish second in Acura Winter Classic tournament

Several Chilliwack skaters lead the way as the B.C. Minor Midget Hockey League squad rolls into 2019

Chilliwack Players Guild brings first ever radio play to stage

An Affair of Honour is based on a true story, written by the father of a Chilliwack man

Chilliwack school board plans for an integrated arts school for grades 8-12 at old UFV location

With $10 million from B.C. government, SD 33 has big plans for old UFV campus at 45635 Yale Road

Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

Feedback during Fraser Health events showed access to health care needs to improve

More staff being hired at Fraser Valley seniors homes

Number of care hours for residents lags behind provincial targets

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read