Letters: Pros and cons of different voting systems

The Editor, I recently read some interesting information about proportional representation (PR) that I found very informative.

The Editor,

I recently read some interesting information about proportional representation (PR) that I found very informative.

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Here are some parts of it:

Arend Lijphart, a world-renowned political scientist, studied and compared 36 democracies over 55 years; both PR and first past the post (FPTP).

In his 2012 landmark study, he determined that PR democracies are kinder and gentler, characterized by inclusiveness, bargaining and compromise versus FPTP — our current system — which is exclusive, competitive and adversarial.

In PR parliaments, politicians must cooperate to get stuff done.

Also:

• More than 90 democracies around the world have PR voting systems.

• PR countries score better on transparency and have lower levels of corruption.

PR No country that has switched from FPTP to PR has ever voted to switch back, though several have held referendums where there was the opportunity to do so.

• Under PR, citizens are more satisfied with their democracies even when their preferred party is not in power.

• Youth voter turnout is higher.

Definitely sounds like the way to go, where everyone’s vote will count. Currently, a government with 40% of the votes does not represent 60% of the people.

L. Mackintosh, Coquitlam

••••••••••

QUESTION QUERIES

The Editor,

I’ve read the Voter’s Guide for the 2018 Referendum on Electoral Reform and the identical guidelines on the Elections BC website.

My concerns remain that the wording of the three questions in bold Ink on page 3 are somewhat disingenuous and downplay the consequences of answering any of the proportional representation choices in addition to the first past the post question.

The question “If I support First Past the Post on Question 1, can I still answer Question 2?” and “If I answer Question 2, do I have to rank all three systems?” are, in my opinion, designed to encourage people to answer Question 2 as well as any single or multiple ranking. There is an element of a game/quiz that implies/encourages you to answer all of the questions and no clear understanding what impact will result on the final decision.

My perception is that even if you want to retain the present FPTP system, the answers that you provided for fun or curiosity will be used to influence the number of votes toward the proportional representation outcome.

The question should be do you want to retain the current system: Yes or No? And then: If you decide No, please select the choices which you would prefer to see in a proportional representation system/format. I envision the true Democracies of Greece, italy and Israel and the total ineffectiveness of their governments to govern for the citizens versus the focus of compromise between the vested interests of each political party.

I feel that Premier John Horgan and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver know full well what the impact of the design of the questions will be and are desperate to change the current system to their personal advantage, all under the guise of a purer democratic system.

William MacKeracher, Coquitlam

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