How do you feel about a new voting system?
September 28, 2007 | 01:04 PM
With voting day less than two weeks away, Elections Ontario says more than six in 10 Ontario residents know that the first referendum in roughly 80 years is being held alongside the Oct. 10 election.
But, only 40 per cent of those aware of the referendum — or a quarter of the total population — understand the question, Elections Ontario says.
Voters are being asked to choose between two voting systems for future elections. The choice is either the status quo, the first-past-the-post electoral system; or a new, proportional system called mixed member proportionality (MMP), which was recommended by a special citizen's assembly.
In the current system, the candidate with the most votes, usually not a majority, wins a seat in the legislature. The party with the most seats forms the government, often with 40 per cent or less of the total vote.
Under MMP, voters choose both a candidate and a party. Local candidates will be elected as usual. But an extra group of seats will be distributed among the parties based on their share of the popular vote. These seats will be filled based on party lists made public before the election. Parties that win less than three per cent of the popular vote will not be awarded proportional seats.
To make this change, at least 60 per cent of voters as well as a majority in at least 64 of the 107 ridings would need to endorse the MMP option.
Some of the criticisms of the proposed system include that it will produce a larger, more costly legislature and that the added members might be considered "second class" legislators for not having run directly for office.
Do you think Ontario's electoral system should be changed? If so, is MMP the right option?