BC Attorney General David Eby released a report this morning, detailing the results of the citizen engagement on electoral reform, which informed his 18 recommendations to cabinet for how the fall 2018 referendum should be structured.
The public engagement ran for 14 weeks, ending Feb. 28, 2018, and drew 180,000 visits to the “How We Vote” website, with what the government said was a record 91,725 questionnaires completed.
Another 1,101 questionnaires were completed by a panel selected to represent BC’s demographic mix to provide a base for comparison to the website respondents. Substantive written submissions were received by 46 organizations and 208 individuals.
“British Columbians made their voices and their values heard, and it was important we gave them the opportunity to direct how this referendum should work,” said Eby. “This input has provided us a firm footing for the recommendations I am putting forward to cabinet.”
While Eby said the engagement marked a first step in involving the public more meaningfully in the democratic process, “ultimately, British Columbians, through the referendum, will determine how we vote in BC.”
Eby’s recommendations to cabinet cover all aspects of the fall 2018 referendum, which will decide whether BC keeps its current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system or moves to a system of proportional representation (PR).
The report recommends that the referendum ballot include two questions:
1. Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly (Vote for only one.):
2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? (Vote for the voting systems you wish to support by ranking them in order of preference. You may choose to support one, two or all three of the systems.):
If a majority of responses to the first question vote to adopt a proportional representation voting system, then responses to the second question would determine which system is implemented in British Columbia.
The report’s key recommendations also include:
The report describes the three proportional representation systems to be included on the ballot, which correspond to the engagement with British Columbians.
If a proportional system is adopted, it must include various features such as:
Eby presented the report with recommendations to the public, prior to delivering it to cabinet for deliberation.