Declaration of Voter's Rights

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Keep PR Simple Sweetheart

Truly, my motto is “Fools go where angels fear to tread.”  With great support from Lynn Oliphant in Saskatoon, I prepared a mock vote to demonstrate both single transferable vote and mixed member proportional.  I proposed to use (Single Transferable Vote) STV to elect the local candidates and (Mixed Member Proportional) MMP to fill in members-at-large.  Jumping ahead to the end, we were all fairly convinced that a larger number of voters would be needed to see how these two systems worked but I had trouble wrapping my head around the logistics of STV. (It seems so simple in videos like Grey's STV  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI).


Fortunately, we had a participant who had used STV and he assured us that the formulas to transfer the votes work well and are understandable. I believe they do but in addition to discussions at the evernt, there was an email conversation I was having with someone in favour of PR. 

In an email, he waved a red flag when he learned I intended to demonstrate STV.  He is adamant that as long as we have to explain both MMP and STV, people will not embrace proportional representation.  He thinks it is a mistake to pitch PR and then say we will pick a form afterwards.  His belief was duplicated by a participant at the event.  The participant would not endorse PR alone-- he would need to know which form he was getting.

In my email conversation, I asked if the BC electoral reform movement referendum had proposed MMP instead of STV, would they have won.  His answer was strong "yes" because MMP is easily explainable—the members-at-large are added to the legislature so its proportions reflect the proportions of voter preferences.  For myself, I know that people hate change and abhor uncertain change.  While I'm confident that Canadians have the ability to understand STV, MMP is simpler to explain.

My next mock vote will follow my dad's KISS motto—"Keep it simple sweetheart."  I will use only MMP.  To the participants in Saskatoon, I thank you again for my learning opportunity. 
Nancy Carswell, Co-spokesperson Fair Vote Canada Saskatchewan Chapter
Shellbrook, Saskatchewan

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