New voting system needed in B.C.
An open letter to MLA Pat Bell
Since you were first elected as an MLA in 2001, we have had a few discussions over the years about the need to bring back the positive, engaging and fair Instant Runoff Vote (IRV) ballot (aka the alternate vote or preferential ballot) for all future B.C. elections to ensure that all MLAs are elected with a majority support of the people who vote in each constituency (just as you, Christy Clark and all Liberal and NDP MLAs were elected by their party members to represent their party).
After all, if the NDP and Liberals have adopted this positive and engaging voting system as the most fair and reasonable system to empower each of their members to vote freely for their favorite candidate without fear of vote splitting, why shouldn’t the people of B.C. be given the same positive and engaging “freedom of choice” to vote freely with their hearts for their favorite candidate without being cruelly browbeaten by the unnecessary and absurd fear of vote-splitting and/or causing a “spoiler election”?
The IRV is also one of the simplest and most effective honest ways to fulfill the Liberal’s, NDP’s and most everyone’s earnest desire to re-engage the electorate and increase voter turnout.
More positive election campaigns and increased voter engagement are two well-known inherent features of an IRV ballot. This Liberal and NDP preferred IRV system will be critically important to help maintain stable policy/laws in our province going forth into the future and it is completely in line with the original promise the BC Liberals made prior to the 2001 election to endeavour to fix the electoral system and prevent another “spoiler election” like the 1996 election.
This is especially important now that the undesirable and confusing BC STV electoral system has been twice voted upon and rejected by B.C. voters. Now is the time for the Liberals and NDP to take the lead and at least give the people of B.C. the same fair “positive and engaging freedom of choice” that their party members have. Why should the people of B.C. have to settle for anything less?
In both the 1952 and 1953 elections, Elections BC successfully used this positive, engaging and fair IRV ballot marking/counting system and it would only take a quick/minor change to the Elections Act to bring it back so that there will not be a “spoiler election” in 2013 or ever again (i.e. wherein representatives take seats in the BC Legislature with less than a majority support of the voters in their ridings).
Pat, since you are my MLA, I encourage you to use your influence and connections to bring back this sensible ballot for the 2013 election before it is too late. You are a good MLA and I trust that you are not afraid of being elected by the majority of voters in your riding with an Instant Runoff Ballot. I am confident that you will have the support of a majority of the B.C. MLAs if you take the lead and present the necessary changes to the Election Act during the current legislative session that recently opened February 12, 2013.
Based on the last conversation I had with MLA John Rustad on the matter, it is my understanding that he still highly favors this system as he advocated for it in 2004. So perhaps with the support of John Rustad, MLA, and the Hon. Shirley Bond, MLA, the three of you could quickly and selflessly drum up the necessary majority support amongst all MLAs to truly empower B.C. voters with a sensible “freedom of choice” ballot in the 2013 Election so that they may vote freely with their heads and hearts and without the unjust worry of causing a “Spoiler Election.”
For the sake of improving our democracy and stabilizing B.C.’s future, now is the time for you, Pat, and all MLAs to be not afraid to act on this without delay! Right now you have the power to prevent another unjust 1996 type of “spoiler election” from happening. Who’ll be the “spoiler” to blame if you and your fellow MLAs don’t act now on this timely opportunity to bring back this positive, engaging and fair Instant Runoff Vote while you still have the chance?
I strongly encourage you and every MLA to continue to show your trust in the people of BC.