After last week’s editorial, I received a rebuttal from Mark Crawford and a phone call from Sean Graham who, as Crawford put it, is the “father” of the proposed Dual Member Proportional (DMP) system. Crawford made some revisions to his rebuttal after he further discussed it with Graham.
Both were quick to note that I was overcounting the Liberal votes. I’m happy to admit I was indeed unintentionally overcounting Liberal votes. I would like to thank them both for pointing that out. Though, if I really wanted to split hairs, I’d say Crawford has made the same mistake in his rebuttal by undercounting Liberal voters by 5 per cent.
However, that’s a little beside the point as both Graham and Crawford pointed out to me that the system as a whole would be more proportional because “everyone’s vote would be counted at the provincial level to determine each party’s fair share of seats.” An inclusion Crawford made after discussing it with Graham.
Graham sent me a link to a column he wrote, which explains the system a lot better. Essentially, everyone votes for local candidates. The first candidate elected locally would be the one with the most votes, while “second seats are filled to create a proportional result across the province by electing the top candidates from each party until they have received their fair share of seats in the Legislature.”
The benefits of the system, according to Graham would be in avoiding the need for a party list, unlike with the other proportional representation systems proposed. Now you could still argue back and forth a bit but I’d have to concede that with both of those stipulations, it would be difficult to say that DMP is a worse system than the other two systems proposed with the information that’s available. Depending on your preferences, it might well be the best of the three proposed systems.
I will, however, stand by my original statement that it is “an exceptionally tough task to get clarity for voters.” Clearly, I struggled with it, having made an error, but even more so, Crawford’s rebuttal self-admittedly was a good deal clearer after speaking to Graham.
This is not a criticism of the systems themselves but rather with the dissemination of information and the way the referendum has been set up. As Crawford noted in his original column, “the details of what exactly MMP and RUP would look like in B.C. remain vague.” This week Premier John Horgan said he was willing to debate Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson on electoral reform.
If that comes to fruition, perhaps it will help but I have doubts.
For those looking for more clarity, perhaps the best place to look is https://elections.bc.ca/referendum/voting-systems/voting-systems/.