South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings addressed questions at the end of the Electoral Reform Town Hall held in Castlegar on Thursday.

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP holds Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar

West Kootenay residents weighed in on electoral reform at MP Richard Cannings' Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar.

West Kootenay residents weighed in on electoral reform at Thursday night’s Electoral Reform Town Hall in Castlegar.

The town hall was hosted by MP Richard Cannings, who was gathering information to submit to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) created by the House of Commons on June 7, in keeping with the promise made by the Liberals during the last election. The ERRE’s mandate is “to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting.”

Attendees at the town hall discussed all three of these issues, as well as the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16. Of the 16 people who spoke at the town hall, 14 made it clear they supported some form of proportional representation (PR) electoral system where the number of seats a party holds in the House is equal to its percentage of the popular vote while one said he needed more time to consider the different voting systems, and another spoke to voting age and mandatory voting without addressing the voting system issue.

The two most discussed voting systems during the evening were mixed-member proportional (MMP), which is is supported by the NDP, and single transferable vote (STV).

MMP is used in nine countries in the world, including Germany and New Zealand. Voters have two votes per ballot one vote for a local candidate and the other for a party and parties can win both constituency seats and list seats. Constituency seats are won using first past the post system, while list seats are used to top up a party’s MPs so that its number of seats matches its percentage of the popular vote. Before the election, parties choose and rank the list candidates, and how many are elected depends on how may top up votes the party gets. There is a minimum threshold of votes that a party needs to hit before it gets a seat.

STV is used in two countries, Ireland and Malta, and is considered semi-proportional, as the results are relatively proportional and grow more so with larger ridings that have more MPs. Voters rank candidates on their ballots, usually voting in more than one MP for their riding. For a candidate to be elected, they have to receive a certain quota, which is calculated based on the number of votes in a riding and how many seats are available. When a candidate reaches the quota, excess ballots are transferred to the voters’ next choice. If no candidate reaches the quota, then the candidate who’s in last place is eliminated, and those votes are transferred to the voters’ second choice. This continues until all seats in the riding are filled. The process of counting votes can’t begin until all votes are in and it may take some time before the results are determined.

There wasn’t much support for mandatory voting at the town hall, but one woman said she’d consider it. Speakers were both in favour of and against online voting. Those for it hoped it would encourage more people to vote, while those against had security concerns. Many were in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.

Those who weren’t able to attend or who have more to say can submit a brief to the ERRE or fill out an online questionnaire by visiting parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7.

Just Posted

Paintings by Syrian father and son end long journey at VISAC Gallery in Trail

The paintings on display at the VISAC Gallery in Trail have been through a lot

Thoughtexchange asks Rossland Council to support mixed-use on midtown lands site

A representative from Thoughtexchange attended Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Rossland remembers

Hundreds gathered for Remembrance Day ceremonies Saturday on Rossland’s main street.

Seven Summits celebrates grand opening

“Over 1,000 volunteer hours went into this renovation.”

Seven Summits Centre for Learning in Rossland receives $5,000 for robotics program

The local learning centre has received $5,000 from Telus for a robotics program.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Most Read