Analysis

Electoral reform: What the P.E.I. legislature might have looked like

CBC P.E.I. projects how provincial legislature seats may have been distributed under different proposed electoral systems

CBC P.E.I. projects how the provincial legislature may have changed under different proposed electoral systems

P.E.I.'s electoral reform plebiscite explained with Lego 2:27

The P.E.I. government has released a plan to ask Islanders to choose among five different electoral systems.

CBC P.E.I. was curious what the legislature might have looked like after the 2015 election, so we put together some projections.

These are projections only. Different electoral systems could change the way people vote, but these projections provide some sense of how the electoral landscape could change.

First Past the Post

This is the system the province currently uses, where the candidate with the most votes in each district is elected.

In 2015, under this system, voters on P.E.I. sent a Liberal majority government to the legislature.

First Past the Post plus Leaders

Under this proposal seats would be added to the legislature for the leader of any party that earned at least 10 per cent of the vote.  Leaders would not run in local districts. This would mean the number of seats in the house could change after each election.

In 2015, four parties earned enough votes to send a leader to the legislature under this system.

Mixed Member Proportional Representation

Two different kinds of representatives would sit in the legislature under this proposal.

Two thirds would be elected under the first-past-the-post system. One third would be elected from party lists, and assigned in a way that would make the overall legislature represent the popular vote. These members would have the whole province as their district.

Dual Member Proportional Representation

The overall results of the election would be the same as MMPR under this system, but who each member represents would change.

All members of the legislature would represent a district, with two MLAs representing each district.

The first member of each district would be elected directly under first past the post. The second member would be selected so that the overall results are proportional, from amongst those candidates receiving the next most votes.

Under this system there would have to be an even number of seats. In 2015, if there were 28 seats, a rounding error would make who gets the 28th seat uncertain. There are systems for dealing with this, but that decision hasn't been made yet, so we've left the 28th seat as an unknown.

Preferential ballot

With a preferential ballot voters would rank all the candidates on the ballot. If no candidate received a majority of votes on the first round of counting, the candidate with the least number of votes would be eliminated.

A second round would count the second preference as a vote for those voters' whose first choice was eliminated. Rounds of counting would continue until one candidate had a majority of votes.

This proposal is impossible to project. In 2015 only six districts were won with an absolute majority. There is no way to know how the other districts might have gone, because we don't know what voters' second, third and fourth preferences might have been.

About the Author

Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.