The B.C. Civil Liberties Association supports the “Yes” Vote in the upcoming May 17 BC Electoral Referendum. The referendum will select one of two formulas to translate votes into seats in the Legislature. The referendum question asks: “Should British Columbia change to the BC-STV system as recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform? A “No” vote is a vote in support of the status quo.
BCCLA President Jason Gratl: “The referendum will decide how BC translates votes into seats. Each system strikes a different balance between factors such as local representation, proportionality, and voter choice. We believe that STV strikes a better balance than first-past-the-post.”
The BCCLA believes that given the choice between the current First Past the Post (FPTP) system and STV, STV gives more power to the people by making British Columbians’ votes more meaningful. STV provides voters with a broader range of viable political platforms and ideas for which to cast their votes. Voters can feel free to cast their votes for those they want in power, rather than against those they don’t.
Responding to opponents of the STV system who claim that STV is too complicated for the average voter to understand, Jason Gratl says, “Every voter should just take five, maybe ten minutes to wrap his or her head around STV, and decide for themselves whether the system is too convoluted. If they don’t get it, I invite them to call me or visit the Citizens Assembly website at: www.citizensassembly.bc.ca/public
The BCCLA would like to congratulate the members of the Citizens’ Assembly, a unique group of British Columbians chosen at random to represent voters in B.C. Their task was not an easy one and whether you agree or disagree with their recommendation, it is clear that they worked hard to understand the issues and the options and in the end recommended what they believe is the best system for B.C. In addition, the BCCLA appreciates the commitment of the Government of B.C. to create the Citizens Assembly and give the final say on our political system to voting British Columbians via a referendum.
The systems we choose to govern ourselves should seek to maximize the citizens’ ability to participate effectively in the democratic process. The BCCLA has supported the principle of one person-one vote in the creation of electoral boundaries (see: www.bccla.org/positions/political/85boundaries.html) and the rights of non-aboriginal persons within aboriginal jurisdictions (www.bccla.org/positions/political/00nonaboriginal.html).