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General · 1st November 2018
Bonnie Brownstein
It's time to vote! Here are some helpful hints: By now you have probably received your ballot in the mail from Elections BC. It is addressed specifically to you. Voting is not as complicated as it looks. Just fill in the actual ballot using a black pen or marker (not a pencil), put it in the secrecy sleeve, put that in the white Certification Envelope, sign the Certification envelope and fill in your birthdate, put that envelope in the yellow Return envelope and put it in a mailbox. No stamp is required. Just make sure to mail it ASAP so it is received in Victoria well before the November 30th deadline! If you don’t receive a ballot by November 3rd, or you have accidentally thrown it out, you may request one from Elections BC anytime from Nov 3rd to 23rd. Elections BC: 1-800-661-8683 elections.bc.ca

You can vote YES to the first question and leave the second question blank if you want
The ballot features two questions. The first asks whether you prefer to continue using the current voting system or whether you wish to change to a Proportional Representation voting system. The second asks you to choose or rank which of three proportional systems you prefer. If you don’t know which system you prefer you may answer only the first question: your vote still counts. The “How to complete your voting package” pamphlet that comes with your ballot makes it clear that your ballot will still be counted if you only answer the first question.

Historic Opportunity to get a more democratic Voting System
Make no mistake – there are people with powerful vested interests in keeping our current, less than completely democratic, voting system. All sorts of misrepresentations and outright fantasies are currently in circulation with the goal of persuading you to vote no, or not to vote at all. If we do not choose change now, it could be a long time before we get another opportunity. Here is a very quick summary of some of the reasons to vote YES.

• Most votes count, no more goverments taking 100% power with 40% or less or the popular vote.
• Voter turnout tends to be higher, plus higher youth turnout. We need to reverse the trend to declining voter turnouts if our democracy is to remain healthy.
• Parties work together – the concerns of a broader swath of voters are represented in government. This will lead to better policies since parties will cooperate to represent their constituents.
• False majorities rare, reduced need for strategic voting.
• Voters more satisfied with quality of democracy.
• Countries using Proportional Representation systems score higher on measures of health, education, environment & standards of living.
• More fiscally responsible and stable – fewer wild swings in policy between successive governments mean less uncertainty for business and more efficient use of government dollars.
• No more safe seats so parties will need to campaign everywhere.
• More women and minorities elected.
• Income inequality decreases.

All three systems on the Ballot are an improvement over what we have now!
• Preserve the current proportion of rural representation – no seats from less populated areas moving to Vancouver due to population!
• Involve candidates that are nominated and elected, just like now. (No appointed MLAs!)
• Retain MLA accountability to a specific geographic area, just like now.
• Can be implemented without significantly increasing the number of MLAs in the province. (Current 87; max. 95)
• All offer proportional results.
• All take into account BCs geographic and demographic realities.

MMP is used in Germany and New Zealand. Variations on RUP are used in some Scandinavian countries. DMP is a made for Canada idea. Let’s join these successful countries in updating our voting system. I hope you will vote YES in this referendum and will do your best to explain it to your family members, friends, workmates and neighbours. The sources below contain print explanations and videos you can share.

Sources:
1) https://elections.bc.ca/referendum/
2) https://www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc/
3) https://voteprbc.ca/
4) https://sierraclub.bc.ca/voteprbc/