Tuesday, May 05, 2009

BC-STV - how it works

The Tyee is running a debate between the Yes and No sides.



GroovyJ said...

This version of the STV system appears to have been made needlessly overcomplicated for the sole purpose of retaining the incentive to avoid voting for third party or independent candidates, instead maintaining the massive advantage that the main parties enjoy - and indeed increasing it.

The standard way, unless I'm drastically misinformed, is to eliminate the candidate with the least votes in each case, transferring their votes, until only two candidates remain, and then elect the one with the most votes. This would require no new ridings, and no huge super-ridings with multiple representatives.

Of course, it would also mean that people could safely vote for a third party candidate, knowing that their vote will be transferred rather than wasted if that candidate has no chance of victory.

Under this system, the opposite effect is produced. People who vote for winning candidates get their votes counted multiple times, while the low vote candidates continue to tie up votes. As a result, your vote has MORE leverage if you vote for a popular candidate, and LESS if you vote for a third party or independent candidate.

Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like an attempt to provide PR without actually avoiding any of the anti-democratic effects of the SMP system...

Deanna said...

No, it just means that most people's votes elect someone (estimates are at 80%), as opposed to the current system where as few as 39% of the votes have been known to elect someone. It means that most people will be represented by someone that they selected and that in their riding they will have the opportunity to choose which MLA to take their concerns to and that even after being elected, MLAs will work to keep in touch with their constituents (because if they don't but the other MLA in the riding does, guess who will get all the votes next time), not just at election time.

The "super" ridings aren't really all that big - they're no larger than a federal riding.

No votes get more leverage than any other - "excess" votes from another candidate are pro-rated, so no one's vote is worth more than anyone else's vote.

Alison said...

There was a really good televized local debate on Voice of BC between
Bill Tieleman of no-stv and Bruce Hallsor of yes-stv. If it shows up anywhere as a podcast or youtube, I'll post it.
Some discussion of variations on STV and MMP here, Groovy J.

sunsin said...

"it just means that most people's votes elect someone"

Yeah, the problem is, you don't know who.

STV is a convoluted mess that requires the use of computers to tell the people whom they just elected. That raises the question of whether the winning candidate will be the one with the largest number of votes, or the one with the cleverest computer programmers.

What ever happened to the runoff election? You damn sure knew whom you voted for there.

Oh, I forgot. STV proponents despise the unwashed masses, and don't think that anyone would bother showing up for a runoff, since it's too much trouble. Voting twice in four years? Unheard of!

According to the latest polls, STV is not even going to get a majority this time around. The more people learn about it, the less they like it. If this leads to some simple and workable alternative to first past the post, such as runoffs, it will be funny and beneficial; if it leads to no change in the system, it will be funny but a tragic waste of time. But whatever, it's always funny to laugh at those who are too smart for their own good.

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