I just received the Voter’s Guide to the Referendum Question on Electoral Reform. I was hoping for a clear choice between our current system and a clearly articulated alternative proportional system. Instead the Guide describes three complicated alternative systems, two of which are not used anywhere else in the world, and none of which provide the clarity I was seeking.
Instead, I am being asked to rank order the three alternative systems without knowing the boundaries of my electoral district; the number of MLAs to be elected; whether both the first and second candidate in my district will be elected, or who will actually represent me; someone I voted for or someone chosen by a political party who may not even live in my district. These questions will only be answered after the referendum, and will be determined by committees, commissions and politicians.
None of this is surprising. The YES side knows that the clarity of the referendum question dictates the outcome. Research has shown that when citizens are provided with a clear informed referendum question, proportional representation has almost always failed. That is why the government has made the current question so confusing and ambiguous. Their message is that “voters can’t be trusted to make the right choice if they are fully informed, so let’s keep them in the dark”. This is both undemocratic and anything but “Reform”.
I will vote in favour of keeping our current First Past the Post system which is easily understood: One Person; One Vote. The person who gets the most votes earns the right to represent me. This simple voting system has served our democracy well by providing stable, predictable and good governance for over a hundred years. And I will do so with a clear understanding about what I am voting for!