A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Electoral Reform – The Ballots

Having recently reviewed a few of the more commonly used voting systems that may be considered by the proposed committee to examine electoral reform in Canada I thought it might be useful to collect some examples of the type of ballot that such systems would require. These examples are from various existing or proposed systems across the world, it was surprisingly difficult to find good examples of some types of ballots. Click on the examples to get a clearer view.

First up Mixed Member Proportional – Closed List where you have one vote for your local representative and one vote for the partys extra candidate of your choice. The Party chooses the individuals needed to make up the number of MPs needed to satisfy the proportionality of the vote.

Next up MMP – Open List where you have one vote for your local represntitive and one vote for the partys extra listed candidate of your choice. The individuals needed to make up the number of MPs needed to satisfy the proportionality of the vote are decided by who gets the most votes. I was unable to find an example of this type of ballot but it would look something like this which is a combination of the above and an open list proportional ballot.

The third example is that of a, Single Transferable Vote ballot based upon a sample from the BC STV proposal, the instructions were added from a Scottish STV ballot as no such information was included in the original. It is the same as AV shown below in that you rank the candidates except that the list contains the names of candidates from 2 or more ridings and the one per riding are elected. Those who win (using the ranked method of selection) represent the combined district..

A far better example of an STV ballot is this one from the U.S., it has the additional quality of being machine readable, something that I believe ALL ballots should encompass but particularly any that have ranked voting.

Finaly we have this simple machine readable Alternative Vote, Ranked Ballot (or whatever you wish to call it, I wish we could settle on a common name for this voting method). Here you rank you local candidates and your choices are taken into account when non of the candidates get more than 50% of the #1 votes.

One final note here. In MMP all votes (for both the local candidate and the Party or their choice list) are counted using First Past The Post, there is nothing stopping one or both of these choices being a ranked choice (except to make an already complex system more complex) thus eliminating those with less than 50% of the vote from automatically winning a seat. Such a ballot for Ranked MMP – Closed list might look something like this.......

As with each voting method there are many different varietys of ballots and what constitutes a valid or spoiled ballot as well as how said votes are counted. Any proposal must include a sample ballot which includes clear instructions on its use printed ON the ballot as well as, where appropriate, exactly how that vote is distributed. (i.e. The number of ridings represented in and STV ballot)
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Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the summary, Rural. This is crucial information.

Rural said...

One that seemed to be missing from the BC STV proposal and the Ontario MMP proposal so far as I can tell Owen.