of the single transferable vote (STV) frequently refer
to its uses elsewhere in the world, but there are few
such places. Apart from some municipalities, STV is used
for the Australian Senate, Ireland, Malta and Tasmania.
The first past the post (FPTP) voting system currently
used in BC, is used throughout Canada, throughout the
United States (federally and in state elections), the
United Kingdom and India. More of the world's population
uses FPTP than any other system.
is interesting to ask why STV has not been adopted anywhere
with large populations. Ireland's population is 4,156,000,
Malta's is 403,532 and Tasmania's is 497,312. Australia
has a population of 21,007,310 but STV is used for its
senate, not for its lower house, and 98% of all voters
for the Australian senate don't really use STV, they simply
mark an "X" in what is called an "above-the-line"
vote that accepts the list or "ticket" filed
by the voter's preferred party. Why hasn't the Australian
lower house adopted STV since Australians are presumably
familiar with the system? Australia has 6 states and two
territories. Why have 5 of Australia's states refused
to adopt STV? Do they know something British Columbians,
including members of the former Citizens' Assembly, don't
know? Perhaps the answer is they know too much. Understanding
STV can be a reason for rejecting it as an alternative
to our current system.
has been in use in Ireland for over 80 years. Despite
its use, one party, Fianna Fáil, has formed the
government in all but 19 years since 1932. From 1932 to
1989 it formed a majority government after all but 5 elections.
Since 1989 it has been the major party in 7 coalition
governments, failing to form government only from 1994-97.
It is currently government in coalition with the 6 Greens
and 2 Progressive Democrats. Canadians recently reacted
strongly against the idea of a coalition government.
Malta since 1966 only two parties have succeeded in electing
candidates. In 1981, 1987, 1996 and 2008 a major party
received a smaller percentage of seats than its percentage
of the vote. That prompted a constitutional crisis in
1981 when the party that formed government received more
seats than its vote. A constitutional amendment was then
adopted to add extra seats if the results were so disproportional
so as to change which party formed the government, hence
four extra seats were added after the election in 1987,
1996 and 2008. BC-STV supporters maintain that such a
distortion would not occur, and the Citizens' Assembly
recommendation of BC-STV makes no provision for it.
elects 25 representatives, 5 from each of 5 electoral
areas, but its population is only 497,312. If BC had the
same number of MLAs in proportion to population, we would
see an increase from 85 to 210 MLAs. That makes it hard
to generalize from Tasmanian experience to BC, but when
you think of it Ireland has 166 members in its lower house
even though it has the same population as BC. Maybe any
differences have more to do with have two or three times
more politicians rather than on the voting system that
elects them. Malta has 69 representatives (65 normally
elected) for a population less than a tenth of BC's.
the links below to research some of the primary sources
for elections in the jurisdictions that use STV.