Practice English Speaking&Listening with: BC Referendum Made Simple

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Hey Hun, do you know anything about this referendum?

I think this video should help answer your questions.

This is a big moment for British Columbia!

As citizens we get to decide how the votes we cast in Provincial Elections

are converted into political power.

The 2018 Referendum on Electoral Reform

let's us choose a voting system for BC

a system that reflects our values.

This video will make the referendum simple and easy to understand.

We'll use examples to show you how the voting systems work.

And we'll point out the main things you need to know.

So let's get started!

The referendum is about two questions.

The first question asks if we want to keep the First Past the Post voting system

or switch to a system of Proportional Representation.

The second question asks which proportional system we'd prefer.

We'll cover all the options.

Lets start with our current voting system, First Past the Post.

Like any voting system, First Past the Post uses a set of rules to convert votes cast into legislative seats.

In BC, the elected candidates become Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs.

What stands out about First Past the Post is the difference between a party's share of the vote

and their share of the seats.

We often get false majorities.

Thats where a party supported by a minority of voters receives more than half the seats.

Sometimes we get inflated majorities where almost all the seats go to one party.

And sometimes we get wrong winner elections where the party with the second most votes

forms a majority government.

First Past the Post also exaggerates regional differences.

It causes large regions of the province to be represented by only one party.

This can happen even if half the voters in these areas supported other parties.

The referendum offers an alternative: proportional representation.

Proportional representation is the principle that each party should win seats in proportion to their share of the votes.

Its the form of voting used by the majority of developed countries.

With a proportional voting system, the choices British Columbians make at the polls

would be more accurately reflected in each region of the province.

With a proportional system, every vote would contribute meaningfully to the make-up of the Legislative Assembly.

If the majority of voters choose Proportional Representation on Question 1

then BC will adopt a proportional voting system.

And for the first time in BC, its up to voters to decide which proportional system will be adopted.

Thats why theres a second question on the ballot.

Question 2 allows voters to choose which proportional voting system will be adopted

if the majority support change.

Regardless of how you vote on the first question, you can answer Question 2 or leave it blank.

If you choose to answer Question 2

youll want a basic understanding of each option.

Well cover what you need to know using a simple example.

The province of BC has 87 MLAs.

Our example is a fictional island with just 11 MLAs.

This will make it easier to see how the systems work.

All the voting systems involve ridings, areas represented by local MLAs.

With First Past the Post, every voter has one MLA who represents their riding.

The proportional systems give voters more than one representative.

This can be done without increasing the overall number of seats.

Youll see how this works as we go through the three proportional systems.

Well start with Dual Member Proportional.

The key thing to know is that DMP maintains 100% local MLAs.

Dual Member Proportional takes most of our current ridings

and combines them in pairs to form two-member ridings.

A small number of ridings may be considered too large to combine.

These areas would remain as single-member ridings, but would still influence the popular vote.

After the polls close on election day

the popular vote determines how many seats each party wins.

The seats are then assigned to local candidates based on local support.

The first seat in every riding goes to the local candidate with the most votes

just like the current system.

The second seats in the two-member ridings

are used to make the overall results proportional.

Every party wins just enough second seats

to end up with their fair share of MLAs in the legislature.

The system aims to award these seats

to the most popular remaining candidates in each of the ridings.

DMP produces proportional election results while maintaining 100% local MLAs.

Next up is Mixed Member Proportional.

The main thing to know about MMP is that it mixes local and regional representation.

In Mixed Member Proportional, the majority of MLAs still represent single-member ridings.

The remaining MLAs represent the encompassing region

which would be one of several regions of the province.

After the polls close on election day

the seats are awarded as follows.

Local MLAs get elected by winning the most votes in their riding

similar to the current system.

Regional MLAs are elected in a way that ensures the overall seat distribution

closely matches the popular vote.

MMP produces proportional election results while mixing local and regional representation.

The final system, Rural-Urban Proportional, maximizes voter choice.

In Rural-Urban Proportional, ridings in urban and semi-urban areas merge and become multi-member ridings.

These larger ridings allow voters to use a ballot where local candidates can be ranked

both between parties and within the same party.

This gives voters a lot more choice.

Less densely populated ridings would be considered too large to combine.

These areas would remain as single-member ridings

and would continue to elect the most popular local candidate.

With Rural-Urban Proportional, the seats dedicated to single-member and multi-member ridings

almost match the popular vote

but not quite.

To make the results proportional in the rural areas of BC

a small number of regional MLAs would also be elected.

RUP produces proportional election results while maximizing voter choice.

So those are the proportional voting systems.

They all deliver proportional election results.

They all provide effective representation

All three proportional systems have a distinguishing

feature that you can use to rank them on

your referendum ballot.

Its not often citizens get to choose how

their democracy evolves

but this is one of those occasions.

So please - take a few minutes.

Complete and mail in the ballot

and encourage others to do the same,

You can help other British Columbians learn about

the referendum by sharing this video.

And thanks for watching!

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