BC-STV in the News Down Under

April 9, 2009

Very interesting article from down under about BC-STV and the local eccentricities of New Zealand’s specialized MMP system.

BC-STV vs MMP: a psephological case study – BC-STV vs MMP: a psephological case study

Some of the things I learned from this article:

  • psephological means : the scientific study of elections. Hey, I’m a psephologist! or at least a psephosist … It comes from the Greek word psephos which was the name of the pebble used by the ancient Greeks to cast their vote.
  • Australia uses a system called Hare-Clark that is one of the original STV voting systems with quotas as BC-STV has.  There are some differences but you can read a all about Hare-Clark here and how it is used in Tasmania.  Take it with a grain of salt though since Tasmania is much smaller than BC and their political discourse seems to be centred on the fact that everyone knows everyone else.
  • The May 12 election day in BC is the 100 year aniversary (to the day!)  of the beginning of the first Tasmanian assembly elected by Hare-Clark using multi-member riding with voting quotas and preferential ballots.
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2 Responses to “BC-STV in the News Down Under”

  1. mike smith Says:

    Hi –

    The BIGGEST question we should all be asking right now is how much will BC-STV cost? This is what should be asked again and again before May 12th:

    Why would I vote for a whole new voting system when I haven’t a clue how much it might cost to implement it? Isn’t it a government rule that a bunch of consultants need to be hired for any new initiative? Advertising firms hired and media time bought? A whole new layer of bureaucracy to run it? I think it is.

    The government will have to hire STV experts, and the system is so incredibly complex that only a handful of people understand things like the droop quota and the weighted inclusive Gregory system. These are the people who promote the STV – these are the people who will be hired as well payed consultants to run the new system – hired not elected.

  2. Mark Crowley Says:

    First of all, many of the promoters of STV are the randomnly selected members of the Citizens Assembly who believe in the system they studied for a year and have their own jobs already. They are not in this for a government consulting jobs, they are volunteering their time to improve our democracy because they truly believe in it. Second, the system is not that complicated. The rest of us who are promoting it are doing so because we have learned about BC-STV, and realized its a very reasonable approach that counts votes as you’d really expect them to be counted if you think it through. I think people can understand the idea of vote that is spent on your different preferences in the order you choose.

    As for cost, I don’t know the cost, but elections aren’t cheap as it is, there is no reason BC-STV will cost enormously more. Democracy can’t be something we do on a shoestring budget, its far too important for that. And once people realize the power they will have with each vote under BC-STV I think they’ll feel its worth every penny.


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