I have set up a petition and information site pushing promoting Choice Voting in the current single member districts and set up the following website:
http://www.choicevoting.ca (There is an online petition)
After the recent setback in BC, PEI, and Ontario to full proportional representation, I think its a more viable change that will increase competition and accountability even if it does not deliver the fair results that many of us have fought for over the last few years.
Choice Voting is also referred to by academics as a preferential ballot, instant run off, or the alternative votes, but is more frequently known in the US as “ranked choice voting”, a name which certainly has more resonance amongst the ordinary voter than unfamiliar acronyms such as MMP, STV or IRV.
It is essentially a single member version of the transferable vote, in which voters can cast a “protest” or “conscious” vote while still retaining the ability to vote for a second candidate who may have better electoral success. While, some models allow voters to rank all the candidates, I think a simple 1-2 vote will make it easy to count votes by hand and keep the ballot simple for voters, both concerns which were raised in the most recent BC referendum.
While I know that choice voting will not deliver proportional results that many of you would like to see, it does address the notion of strategic voting and I feel it is a change that will receive less resistance from the average voter and current politicians because it preserves the familiar notion of local representation and will still deliver government mandates. It does cure what I believe is the worst fallacy of our current electoral system. First-past-the-post has a tendency to force people to set aside their beliefs and vote strategically, which encourages negative campaigns and shuts out fair competition.
Choice voting will encourage more quality candidates to run, both as independents and perhaps with smaller parties, reduce negativity (particularly amongst candidates with similar view points), encourage more cooperation, and allow voters to be more honest with their first preference by ending strategic voting.
I see it not as an end of electoral reform, but as a method to encourage new ideas and fresh voices to build strong local presences, until at which time voters are ready to embrace more dramatic changes or more complex systems. Once voters get used to the idea of more political choice and get familiar with supporting different views, further changes may be easier to pursue.
Do not let perfection get in the way of improvement!
If we cannot solve all the problems, then at least address some of them.
Please sign up if you are willing to support change.
I have put a personal perspective in place here:
I know that there is opposition from those who support "PR or bust", but I think you will see that they are misguided to deny incremental change. It is actually disappointing to hear progressive people who refuse to consider realistic changes in the mid term.
Fair Vote US, recognizing that full PR is nearly impossible to get through, puts much of their efforts into pushing for IRV as a way of ensuring that local elections are at least fair and competitive. The Electoral Reform Society of England acknowledge that while not ideal and promotes full PR, choice voting is at least a step in the correct direction.