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STV overwhelmingly defeated with 61% vote for FPTP!  NO STV thanks BC voters

Thanks to everyone who supported the NO STV campaign and effort in the May 12 provincial referendum on electoral systems!

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NEWS RELEASE Tuesday May 12, 2009

NO STV pleased and relieved that Single Transferable Vote proposal defeated in May 12 provincial referendum

VANCOUVER – NO STV, the group opposing the Single Transferable Vote, is pleased and relieved that British Columbia voters have rejected the STV proposal in the May 12 provincial referendum on electoral systems.

NO STV President Bill Tieleman said tonight that voters have spoken clearly in the second referendum on the STV.

As of 11 pm Tuesday, the results stood at 61 per cent in favour of maintaining the current First Past The Post system.

“NO STV said throughout this referendum campaign that the Single Transferable Vote was a bad idea for British Columbia and tonight voters agreed,” Tieleman said. “Our strategy was to give voters as much information as possible about the problems with STV and let them decide for themselves – that worked.”

NO STV Secretary-Treasurer David Schreck said the vote marks an end to debate about STV.

“Whether the province continues with our current First Past The Post electoral system or considers other alternatives, it is clear that STV is no longer an option,” Schreck said.

Shreck said NO STV has no position as an organization on future discussion of electoral reform but that some of its supporters believe there are other systems better than either STV or FPTP.

“It is now up to the provincial government and opposition to listen to British Columbians and respond democratically and openly to their views,” he said.

NO STV Vice-President Rick Dignard gave credit to British Columbians for BC-STV for running a strong campaign and encouraging public debate about our electoral process.

“Regardless of the rejection of STV, this referendum has energized discussion of our democratic institutions and that can only be positive,” said Dignard, a former BC Citizens Assembly representative for the Sunshine Coast who disagreed with the Assembly’s majority recommendation of STV in 2004.

NO STV’s other directors include former Social Credit cabinet minister Bruce Strachan and Vision Vancouver city councilor Andrea Reimer, a former Green Party Vancouver school trustee.

Other active members include former provincial deputy minister Bob Plecas, former NDP cabinet minister Anne Edwards, former Citizens Assembly member Jyoti Gill, Trinity Western University political science professor John Redekop and business owner Paul Gill.

On May 12, 2009 Vote Against STV

Take the Challenge - watch the VideoOn May 12th British Columbians will vote on whether to change how MLAs are elected. We are confident that after you watch the short video explanation of how the Single Transferable Vote count takes place - prepared by the BC Citizens Assembly which recommended it - that you will be convinced to reject STV on May 12!

Adoption of BC-STV would merge the 85 single-MLA constituencies that will be used in the 2009 election into 20 multiple-MLA electoral areas with populations of 200,000 to over 300,000. With STV's electoral areas it is possible to elect all the candidates for an area from one community, leaving others with no effective representation.

It is easy to understand our current system where there is one MLA to be elected and the winner is the candidate who receives the most votes.

Supporters of STV say voting is as simple as 1, 2, 3, but the numbers are not separate votes. Two to seven MLAs would be elected in each of the 20 areas, but you only get one vote, hence the word single as the first word in STV. The numbers are used differently for each voter in the complicated counting rules in which fractions of some votes get redistributed (transferred) but the voter doesn't control the size of the fractions.Raeside Cartoon on STV complexity

In the proposed seven-MLA Capital Region, a candidate would be declared elected with just 12.5% of the vote, while in the Northeast, a two-MLA region, a candidate would be elected with 33.3% of the vote. That would give BC what amounts to two different voting systems, and that is not equal effective representation.

The single transferable vote (STV) is used in Ireland, Malta, Tasmania and a few municipalities. In elections for the Australian senate 97% of voters cast a single "X" in "above-the-line" voting for their party's slate; that might not be called true STV. Many of the claims that are made about STV cannot be demonstrated and frequently depend on assumptions of how parties and voters would behave, but they behave differently in Ireland, Malta and Tasmania. Since there is no STV jurisdiction in the world that has the land mass and rural / urban population differences that B.C. does, there is no place you can go and see how STV might work if it were adopted for BC.

STV replaces local representation with regional representationHypothetical examples purport to demonstrate that BC-STV would give more proportional election outcomes, helping small parties to elect MLAs. In Malta where STV is used there have been four occasions, including in 2008, when the party with the greatest popular support won the fewest seats. In Ireland's 2007 election, Sein Fein won 6.9% of the vote and elected 4 TDs while the Green Party won 4.7% of the vote and elected 6 TDs. Ireland's long governing party, Fianna Fail, won 41.6% of the vote and elected 78 TDs (47.0%).

Those who rank proportionality as important in an electoral system frequently prefer mixed-member proportional systems (MMP). When New Zealand changed its electoral system it first held a nonbinding referendum asking whether their first past the post system (FPTP) should be replaced and, if so, which of four systems people preferred; MMP received 70% support, STV only 17%. Since a majority wanted change, a second binding referendum was held in 1993 between MMP and FPTP which resulted in the adoption of MMP. British Columbians won't be given the opportunity to vote on MMP, and STV is nothing like it.

Flaws in our political system will not disappear by using a hard to understand system for electing our MLAs and adopting STV will not get BC closer to the kind of proportional representation enjoyed in Germany and New Zealand. Adopting BC-STV could make politics worse than they are now.

Sample Ballot Showing a Vote Rejecting BC-STV

Referendum Ballot



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