Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Single Transferrable Vote Defeated Fair and Square in BC - Pro and Con Groups Funded by Provincial Govt Equally

Was the campaign against STV in British Columbia fought fair and square? Why was STV overwhelmingly defeated with 61% vote for FPTP? Some advocates for Single Transferrable Vote in British Columbia think they were out spent or out-maneuvered. Blogger "Mathew 5000" writes "I would conclude that the ubiquitous TV and print advertising opposed to STV, much of which was deceptive, was a major factor in the referendum results." Anthony Lorenzo, head of the Coalition for Instant Runoff Voting writes "the opposition in BC was much better funded this time."

WAS the opposition to STV better funded? NO!

May 12, 2009 B.C. voters reject single transferable vote for the second time By Stephen Hui According to Straight Talk

The provincial government gave $500,000 to two groups, British Columbians for BC-STV (aka Fair Voting B.C.) and No STV, which ran the official “yes” and “no” campaigns for this year’s referendum

There you have it, for once, both the groups FOR and AGAINST were equally funded. Usually, at least in the United States, groups pushing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) are funded and groups in opposition usually are not.

What is Single Transferrable Vote (STV)? It is similar to Instant Runoff Voting except that STV is intended for multi seat contests.
From the Electoral Reform Referendum Office of BC:

Voters would vote by ranking preferences for as many candidates as they wished to support (1, 2, 3, etc.). To be elected, a candidate must reach a certain threshold (or quota) of votes.

All voters’ first preferences are counted, with further rounds of counting used to transfer voters’ second, third, etc. preferences from candidates that are elected with a surplus of votes, or that are dropped from the ballot because they have received the fewest votes, to candidates that are still on the ballot. The counting process continues until all the seats in the district have been filled.

Very few places use the Single Transferrable Vote:
Supporters 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.