FIRST PAST THE 50% POST BALLOT
To: Canadian Electoral Reform Commitee:
Scott Reid MP, Nathan Cullen MP, Francis Scarpaleggio MP, Elizabeth May MP
Copies to: Larry Maguire MP, Kevin Lamoureux MP, Ralph Goodale MP
"First past the 50% post ballot" = the preference-ranked ballot.
Voters would rank each candidate as being their 1st, 2nd, 3rd.... choice.
To count the ballots:
- Place all ballots into candidate's piles according to each voter's first choice.
- Then reallocate the smallest pile according to its voter's second choice.
- Then reallocate the smallest pile according to its voter's next choice.
- Continue until one candidate's pile has 50% of the ballots.
Referendum necessary for "proportional-representation", but not for "preference-ranked ballot"
The preference-ranked ballot voting system is merely an optimization of our existing governance system, as it achieves representation by only those individuals who have the support of the majority of voters. Indeed it enhances that principle by ensuring "the post" that must be passed is actually at a full 50% of the votes. The current system is falsely called "first past the post" as that "post" is often not a rigid post at 50% but rather is often at a lower percentage, well less than a majority due to vote splitting.
Voters would not reject having the opportunity for their second choice to be applied, if their first choice did not get more first place votes than another candidate. For example, three philosophically conservative candidates could be competing against one philosophically socialist candidate in a mostly conservative constituency. With a preference ranked ballot system, one of the conservatives would win for sure, but with the current ballot providing no opportunity for a second choice to be considered, the socialist might win with a minority of the total votes.
Back when reform of The Canadian Wheat Board was contemplated to achieve farmer elected control to replace government appointed control, I had made presentations to committees, in which I proposed a preference-ranked ballot, plus other mandate changes. That form of ballot did end up in the legislation and for about a decade western Canadian farmers elected their CWB directors via preference-ranked ballot and there was no criticism of that methodology - the backbone (we farmers like to think we are important) of the Prairies fully understood and was comfortable with it. (Although CWB discord remained, regarding the basic principles of freedom to sell independently, versus market power via unity, there was no disharmony regarding the actual preference ranked ballot.)
A preference-ranked ballot system very importantly allows persons who do not wish to have a political party connection, who must in their career for example remain non-partisan, to feel free to offer themselves for election, comfortable in the assurance of the preference-ranked ballot system, that so doing would not split the vote away from the side of their own philosophy. We will thus achieve higher qualified candidates and consequently better governance.
But, any proportional-representation voting system would be a marked difference from the historical past, as it would mean that persons who do not receive a majority endorsement would be casting votes in Parliament. That change should require a referendum to be valid.
grain farmer and wine maker
November 13, 2016