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

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

Fruitvale man, 25, dies after falling from zipline in Thailand, reports say

Bangkok Post says man fell from Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

Most Read