STV system gives voters more power

In his comparison of Single Transferable Voting system (STV) with the recent Liberal Party Leader selection voting system where he attempts to discount STV, the Armchair Mayor makes several misleading or incorrect observations.

He attempts to show that STV and the Liberal party giving rural constituencies a preferential vote counting system are the same thing. STV gives the electorate a result whereby all winners must gain a majority with more that 50 per cent of the votes on a preferential counting system. The Liberals in B.C. are merely using a simplistic preferential system to give rural voters twice the value of urban voters. This is not the STV system and it is not truly democratic where all votes are equal.

The mayor states that STV allows candidates to "sneak up the middle" and win unfairly. The truth is exactly the opposite. He states first past the post gets a clear winner and democracy is better served. No - first past the post merely means that the candidate in a multi-candidate contest only has to get the most votes, not a majority (50 per cent) of votes to be elected. Most winning candidates in both federal and provincial elections in Canada, using first past the post, do not get a majority of votes.

The first past the post system also gives very unrepresentative results collectively. In the B.C. provincial election of 2003 the winning Liberals as a party had a mere majority of votes in the 50 per cent range yet they got over 70 seats while the NDP with a popular vote in the mid 30 per cent range got two seats or about three per cent of the seats, with the Liberals getting 97 per cent of the seats with 50 per cent of the popular vote. All federal majority governments in the last 25 years have not had a majority of the popular vote - usually in the 30 per cent to 40 per cent range.

STV will assure every vote counts with a first, second, third preference system whereby every elected candidate will have the majority (50 per cent) of votes not just the most votes. As well, STV will enable smaller parties with elected members in some constituencies to sit in assemblies and represent their constituents. STV will give voters full power and reduce the power of the first past the post party- dominated system of today.



Editor's note: The Armchair Mayor says the Liberal party's system is a form of preferential voting, since members are allowed to rank their choices on the ballot.

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