CHANGING DEMOCRACY

  BC and the politics of Middle Earth   

 

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DEFINITIONS

First Past the Post -- FPTP is used to elect politicians in Canada. The candidate with the most votes wins. But the winner may not have the support of 50 percent of the voters. Often, the combined votes of the other candidates exceeds what the winner receives. FPTP can result in skewed representation in parliament, or a legislature, with only the two or three most popular parties represented. FPTP makes it relatively easy for voters to kick out an unpopular government.  Usually, it also results in stable government between elections.

Proportional Representation -- PR is based on the idea that the makeup of a legislative chamber should be broadly representative.  Political parties and in some cases candidates, are granted seats based on the percentage of total votes. In a 100 member house, a party with 10 per cent of the total or "popular" vote would equal ten seats.

Mixed Member Proportional Representation -- In New Zealand MMP combines a FPTP system with a system of Proportional Representation.  Sixty-nine electorates (constituencies) elect MP's to represent their specific area. Fifty-one Party List MP's are elected based on popular vote. Each Kiwi has two votes in elections held every 3 years. Current Standings and Background.

Single Transferable Vote  -- STV is another member of the proportional representation family. Voters rank candidates in their order of preference. A certain number of votes are required to win a seat in a specific riding depending on its size. Once that threshold is reached the "surplus" votes of the winner are transferred to other candidates based the voters' other choices. It is a complex system, but voters choose candidates, rather than parties, and the objective is to have a broad range of representation.  STV systems are dependent on multi-member ridings and are in use in the Republic of Ireland and to elect senators in Australia.

Preferential Voting -- In preferential systems, voters are asked to number the candidates in order of their preference. If on the first count none of the candidates gets more than 50 per cent of the votes, the last place candidate is eliminated and his votes are distributed to other candidates based on the voters second choices. The process is repeated with the last place candidate dropping off each time until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the votes. Australia uses preferential voting, and BC used a system of preferential voting in the early 1950s.


 

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