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Videos on PR systems

An exciting time. We are seeing lots of question on PR in Facebook and elsewhere. Different voting systems are on the table. The reality is, voting systems can really be customized and there isn't just one proportional alternative. Here is a few:

The 4 families of voting system

For a broad overview of voting systems around the world, both proportional and not, see "The 4 families of voting system" produced by the Ontario Citizens Assembly in 2007:

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and the Law Commission of Canada 2004 model (LC2004)

Mixed Member Proportional lets each voter have two votes: a vote for your party and a vote for your local candidate. Thus, it gives proportionality to the people who want it and local representation to people for whom that is important.

I often like to point people to the New Zealand videos as an introduction: and then refer them to the Law Commission of Canada 2004 model (LC2004) as an example specific to Canada: . For those who like reading, it's 232 page report is available on the web.

One very important difference is that LC2004 has open, regional lists, unlike the Ontario proposal of 2007. Every candidate faces the voter.

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

This model received 58% support in a referendum in 2005. The threshold was set to 60% (thanks to premier Gordon Campbell). Funny, our false majority governments only need ~40% approval to get that majority. It's explained here in the New Zeland videos: .

STV is a ranked ballot systems. Because it combines multiple ridings into one riding of multiple seats, it can be proportional. STV gets more proportional as the number of seats per district increases, which in Canadian experience can range from four to ten, although even larger districts are possible.

The BC-STV model is explained here: . BC-STV had 2-7 districts to accommodate the rural ridings.

As a side note, Fair Vote USA and other democratic reform organizations in Canada are trying to rebrand Alternative Vote and Single Transferable Vote under one family as Ranked Choice Voting (hence the name change of STV to "Choice Voting" in the youtube video above I suspect), but I don't think this is the nomenclature used by most political scientists.

Jenkins MMP

Jenkins MMP is a model proposed by Fair Vote Canada similar to the Law Commission model: You get two votes: one for your party and one for your candidate. Except the part for your candidate is *ranked* and because the lists regions are of smaller regions it is slightly less proportional. I believe personally that this will be the middle road solution between AV and PR advocates. But I do respect FVC's desire not to come out in favour of one particular model: just for the principal of proportional representation, because that is the principle upon which all votes count.

Jenkins MMP is explained here:

Jenkins MMP is a variation on the AV+ proposal in the UK.

Updates: I had previously mistaken Jenkins MMP to be the same as AV+, which is not the case.

Dual Member Mixed Proportional (DMP)

An interesting mix of what both camps in this debate want: very local representation and proportionality. DMP tries to fuse the best of both worlds together, resulting in a unique proposal: fuse two ridings together to get one riding of two seats. Citizens cast votes for a pair of candidates. The first is picked like we do right now, the second is picked to get to proportionality. Every riding has two local MPs with a proportional result for the province. Video: Slide show:

Dion's P3

Stephane Dion's P3 has smaller regions. You rank parties instead of candidates. I don't know why that is. Fewer choices to rank perhaps (ex: 5 parties instead of 25 candidates?) Video:

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CPG Grey

Some people like the CPG Grey as they use a fictional animal kingdom. That way it puts emphasis on the concept and not the politics. Personally I prefer seeing how it applies to a country. But I add them here thinking maybe editors & publishers of newspapers and other 4th estate outlets will prefer these over FVC's:

Alternative Vote (not proportional) (AV)

Alternative Vote is a favourite of many Liberals because it favours centrist parties.. Also called Preferential Voting or Instant Runoff Voting, it is not a game changer as it is still a Winner-Take-All voting system and, unlike proportional systems, does not give the right to equal voting & representation.

Ranked Ballots

When someone says "Ranked ballots", the term only refers to the ballot, not the voting system. But they may be thinking of Alternative Vote when they say "Ranked ballots". On the other hand, some people know they are only talking about a tool, not a voting system.

STV, Jenkins MMP, Dion's P3 are all voting systems that used ranked ballots and are proportional to varying degree. That's because they either have a list component or multi-seat ridings.

The reason "Alternative Vote" is not proportional is that because it has neither a list component or multi-member ridings. It keeps the single riding aspect of our voting system and just changes the ballot to a ranked ballot. You got from one winner-take-all voting system to another, from giving representation to about 50% of voters to giving representation to about 50% of voters. Yipee!!!! Some Real change!!!!!