Tuesday, 12 May 2009

STV in English

As a Part II to my last post, the STV issue clarified by my dear friend Jeremy.

"So the two things it changes are:


-In First Past The Post (FPTP) only one person can win a seat in the Legislative Assembly. Its not majoritive in that one does not need 50%+1 of the vote to win, it is a plurality, where the person with the most number of votes wins. This means there could be 5 people running, and if 3 get 20%, 1 person gets 19% and one person gets 21%, the last guy wins, even though 79% of people wanted someone else.

- STV gives the voter the ability to rank candidates, instead of choosing one. This means that if there are again 5 people running, you would write 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 beside their names, instead of just giving one X.

- This means that There will be somebody who has the most No. 1 spots, but there might be someone who gets more No. 2 spots than everyone else. There will also be someone who gets more No. 3 spots than everyone else. However, the person with the most No. 3 spots might also have had more No. 2 spots than the person with the most No. 1 spots.

This is confusing, but essentially it makes it so someone has to get at least 20% of the No. 1 spots, as well as 20% of the No. 2 or 3 spots in order to get elected.

So what does this mean?

It leads me to the second big change that would happen:

2. In BC there are currently 85 ridings, or constituencies. Each riding gets 1 MLA or representative.

- STV would break BC into 20 or so ginormous ridings, instead of the current 85

- Because there are fewer ridings, each riding would get 3 or 4 seats in the legislature.

- This means that the people who had the most No. 2 and No. 3 spots, mentioned earlier, would get a seat in the House

- This means that in one riding, say the Okanagan Valley and West Kootneys (all lumped together) there could be a Liberal, NDP and Green member elected

So what does all this mean?

1. The idea of locally representative government disappears because the ridings become huge, and there are multiple members in each riding

2. It means that a party that gets 12% of the popular vote (as the Green did in the last election) would get 12% of the seats in the Legislature

3. It brings an end to majoritative government in BC where either the Liberals have 50% + 1 seats or the NDP do, as we see an increase in Green membership, and maybe even more radical parties or independents. Essentially permanent Minority Government, but with the possibility for Coalition governments of multiple parties.

So there's a Poli 100 class in a nut shell. I think its awesome because local representatives on the provincial stage don't do much any more, considering all Education, Health, Crime and Welfare are province wide concerns. Also, having the most number of votes doesn't make them the most popular, and this gives rise to people who were everyone's second choice, and thus better for everyone."

Jeremy is hella smart, guys.

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