Change in how we vote is up to you

As well as the civic election this fall, there is a province-wide referendum on how we will vote in the next provincial election.

Depending on how old you are, this is your “last chance” or your “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to change the way your vote is counted.

In the current first-past-the-post system, if you didn’t vote for the winner in your riding, your vote is defeated. Yeah. Lots of people don’t bother to vote. Especially younger people have given up on voting or never tried.

Changing to proportional representation will means if your local candidate doesn’t win, your vote will still be counted to help another person represent your party in the legislature.

Each of the three models of proportional representation suggested for B.C. includes that independent candidates and fringe party candidates can win seats.

However, to avoid a proliferation of fringe parties, a party must get at least five per cent of the provincial vote to be assigned additional seats. With close to 17 per cent of the vote, the Greens would have at least 14 seats if we had had proportional representation in 2017.

Distortions caused by gerrymandering, strategic voting, and having the vote fractured by fringe candidates will be much reduced. Voters can vote for the party or candidates they want and the vote is counted towards a winner.

Beginning Oct. 22, registered voters will receive their voting packages in the mail. You can register and pick up a package after Oct. 22 but it’s easier to register ahead.

Register by phone at 1-800-661-8683 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Or go online to the Elections B.C. website at elections.bc.ca/referendum/.

The website has a simple menu on the left where you can read about the issues for yourself.

Heather Phillips

Sooke

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