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OT: need advice on voting system change, STV

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  • OT: need advice on voting system change, STV

    We have an election on Tuesday and one of the items on the ballot is a referendum on whether the province should institute the Single Transferable Vote system of electing candidates. I'm not going to try and explain how it works, partly because I haven't been able to find a completely clear explanation of how it is supposed to work. I know that some members in Australia and the UK have some experience with this and am wondering what they think of it.

    ??
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  • #2
    Evan, I am sitting here in Sidney BC and offer the following. First, I am not at all sure how it is SUPPOSED to work. I lived in this province for over fifteen years, off and on, and worked as a civil servant for nine of them. Second, from extensive experience with the workings of the government, from the cabinet level down to the Regonal government, I can assure you that it WILL NOT work they way that they tell you it is SUPPOSED to work. It is a ploy to get a party into power, or keep it in power, when it can obtain strong support in densely populated ridings, but cant win the hinterland. Right now, in Ontario, the rest of the province is virtually a hostage of what amounts to the "city state" of Greater Toronto. This comparatively tiny "state" has nearly half the population of the Province. I feel that a similar situation exists with the Greater Vancouver "city state". In Ontario, Torontonians cant even pronounce Fort Francis, let alone give a hoot as to its problems, and I am certain that a close parallel exist here with Williams Lake, Mackenzie, Quesnel, or pick your favorite. Sorry, Evan, you touched a nerve, and I had to jump in, but I wish you luck on Tuesday. My advice would be to leave it alone, as it aint THAT badly broke! Duffy
    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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    • #3
      Personally I will be voting to support the STV, not because I think it's a particularly good alternative, but because I think we need some form of proportional representation in BC. The problem is if the STV isn't supported this time round, it could be decades before there is another chance to change our voting system. If STV is adopted, it doesn't mean we are stuck with it forever, it can be changed to something else, as it seems appropriate.
      I think things got off track in the process of deciding what system to adopt, there were much better alternatives proposed, so why pick this one.
      If I understand you right Duffy, the change will result in rural ridings actually having some influence on the outcome of an election. Surely that can't be a bad thing, right now I feel like I'm voting just to exercise my right to, not because I expect to get any meaningful representation.
      Currently we have what amounts to a two party arrangement, which results in wild swings in policy, as the newest party tries to correct what they perceive as the wrongs done by the previous administration.
      Here is a link that gives an explanation as to why STV is worth supporting, this by Christie Clark, who voted against it in the last election. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhccpzI4lbQ

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      • #4
        I don't want to discuss the merits or lack of them of the parties in BC, only the merit of lack thereof of the STV voting system. One of the things that I haven't been able to discover is how is your vote counted if you don't indicate any alternative choices and your first (and only) choice already has enough votes to win?
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        • #5
          Some how my post come up on the wrong thread.. can't find delete button

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          • #6
            STV in OZ (Senate only - not House of Representatives)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_...le_vote_system

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Senate

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proport...representation

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            • #7
              Evan,

              Can you vote in BC? It used to be that voting in a "foreign" election was grounds for loss of USA citizenship.
              Allan Ostling

              Phoenix, Arizona

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              • #8
                Don't be too suspicious. But reading this woudl be good.

                I think the idea is that it is easier for a third party to be elected, that your vote transfers to your second choice.

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                • #9
                  Can you vote in BC? It used to be that voting in a "foreign" election was grounds for loss of USA citizenship.
                  It's almost impossible to lose your US citizenship now. There are a very restricted set of conditions that apply. Holding office in a foreign government isn't even enough unless you are in a capacity to make policy. I believe treason is still a reason as is conspiring to overthrow the US government. That's about it though.

                  I still want to know what happens to my vote if I don't put a second choice on it. What happens if my first choice has reached the set quota to win and my ballot is among those that are transfered for second choice counting? They cannot legally disregard my vote. The system makes it possible for a portion of the electorate to confound the vote by not making second choices. The ballots are not spoiled and must be counted but cannot be transfered.
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                  • #10
                    Enough of this plain vanilla democratic selection,give us something with flare.

                    A popular vote followed by the victor killing his/her rivals would be interesting and probably beneficial to the populace.

                    Maybe something with a feudal Japanese touch like the losing opposition leaders committing suicide?

                    All these politicians vowing to "fight" for the people,well hop to it.Pistols at 20 paces?
                    I just need one more tool,just one!

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                    • #11
                      The other thing I want to know is how in heck can they do a recount? It sounds like it would be totally impossible to duplicate the count sequence since it is time dependent.
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                      • #12
                        Vote counting in OZ

                        Australian Senate voting et al:
                        http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/counting/senate_count.htm

                        http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/counting/index.htm

                        http://www.aec.gov.au/

                        http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=e...tralian+electr

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                        • #13
                          Thanks especially for that first link. That has easily made up my mind even though I still haven't found out what happens if I don't make a second choice.

                          This is the first detailed explanation of precisely how the vote counting takes place in the STV system. What a joke! It makes a mockery of the "One person, One vote" concept. It allow you to not just indicate a second choice candidate but to also have a fractional portion of your vote applied to as many candidates as you are allowed to vote for on the ballot. The result of this is that special interest groups can cast unified block votes across several districts with all such votes counting toward all such special interest candidates at once.

                          Not only that but the system is so complex that according to the vote count description
                          Counting for the Senate takes longer than the House of Representatives because of the complex nature of the counting system used. It is some weeks before all Senators are declared elected.
                          You have got to be kidding me. WEEKS???? SO it means that recounts are effectively impossible, as I suspected.
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                          • #14
                            This is the craziest thing I've ever read on voting. It is absurd. Beyond absurd. I'm surprised it didn't originate in the US where really crazy election laws are the norm. Canada is doomed.

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                            • #15
                              I hope the BC referendum on a STV passes into legislation. It will act as an example to help with the changes needed at the federal level. First past the post does not reflect the will of the majority. It is a distortion of the public voice on many levels.

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