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To Keep or To Change First Past The Post?The Politics of Electoral Reform$
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André Blais

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539390

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539390.001.0001

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When Citizens Choose to Reform SMP: the British Columbia Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform

When Citizens Choose to Reform SMP: the British Columbia Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform

Chapter:
(p.140) 5 When Citizens Choose to Reform SMP: the British Columbia Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
Source:
To Keep or To Change First Past The Post?
Author(s):

R. Kenneth Carty (Contributor Webpage)

André Blais (Contributor Webpage)

Patrick Fournier (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539390.003.0006

This chapter provides an account of what happens when ordinary citizens are given an opportunity to examine the workings of first past the post electoral systems and consider an alternative. The Canadian province of British Columbia established the first Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform and invited 160 randomly selected electors to make a recommendation that would go directly to public referendum. Assembly members had to first learn about different electoral systems and then balance their values in the trade-offs involved in choosing one system over another. Surprisingly, to many, this process led the Assembly to recommend a Single Transferable Vote system. The electorate then responded to the Assembly by supporting its recommendation by 58 percent. That failed to meet the 60 percent threshold set by the legislature so a second referendum is planned.

Keywords:   electoral reform, citizens' assembly, single transferable vote, mixed member, proportional, referendum, British Columbia

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