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October 26, 2004

As Easy as 1,2,3

Yeah, I know. We've got ourselves a little election coming up. But I thought I'd take a few moments to talk about someone else's elections for a change...

This past weekend, British Columbia's 153-member Citizens Assembly for Electoral Reform voted to send the voters a proposal to change BC's electoral system from first-past-the-post single member districts [that's how we elect our state & federal reps. - Ed.] to a Single Transferable Vote system where each district is represented by 2-7 legislators.

This means that in May 2005, when British Columbians go to the polls to elect a new provincial legislature, they'll also get to decide whether to adopt an entirely new way of choosing legislators.

I'm not gonna go all election-geeky on the merits of Single Transferable Vote systems, but if you're curious, you can read more at Wikipedia. STV is used in Australia, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand and the People's Republic of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Two things I like about this:

1) It shows that serious election reform can be seriously proposed (and hopefully adopted) here in the Northwest. [It's not just for wingnuts anymore. -Ed.]

2) The proposal was developed by a citizens' panel comprised of randomly-selected ordinary folks, not by the legislature (fox, meet henhouse), and sent directly to the voters. A relatively de-politicized process. Contrast with our "adored" initiative/referendum system here in Washington.

Posted by Jon Stahl on October 26, 2004 at 08:18 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink

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