20 Jun 2015
A better voting system
Re: Alternative voting systems not created equal, June 19.
I agree with Mark Sutcliffe that an alternative electoral system that eliminates the relationship between voters and a local MP is to be avoided. That eliminates party-list/proportional systems (which Ontario had on their recent referendum) and single-transferable votes (which British Columbia voted on).
But to assert that a vote for candidate A is a vote against all the other choices is, I believe, wrong. The rank-order ballot, though, is not the only way to overcome that. The other is “approval voting,” in which the voter can put a check by as many choices as he or she approves of, without any rank-ordering. The focus is not on determining which choice is best, but the one(s) that the voter is willing to be represented by.
With computer assistance (which we use for Ottawa municipal elections) we could easily combine rank-order and approval voting, by allowing each voter to put any number by each name, even if they signify a tie by putting the same number.
This would be closer to the kinds of decision we make at stores; we can buy as many items of a choice as we want, and we can buy one each of several competing products. Retailers pore over this rich behaviour, via their “reward systems” that track purchases for each participant. Parties and candidates would learn so much more than they do now.
And we would still get our local representatives. And voters could do something they can’t do now: register a negative vote (by putting no mark by a choice).
Chris Bradshaw, Sandy Hill