Have you already voted in the referendum on proportional representation? Let us know and we'll focus on contacting other voters.
It’s time for a new way of voting that works for you.
For too long our old, outdated voting system has put too much power in the hands of too few.
This fall we are having a province-wide referendum that gives British Columbians a chance to replace the status quo with Proportional Representation – a way of voting that puts people at the centre of politics.
Pro Rep, used by democracies around the world, provides more choice for voters, more accountability, and more collaboration between parties to get things done for people.
Thanks for adding your name.
Thanks for saying YES to a new voting system that works for people. We’ll be in touch soon with more information about the campaign and how you can be a part of it.
Are you with us?
Add your name if you agree it is time for a new way to vote that works for you.
Switching to Proportional Representation will end the days when a party can get 100 per cent of the power with a minority of votes. With Pro Rep, people get the results they voted for.
Pro Rep means that when a party that gets 30 per cent of the votes, it gets 30 per cent of the seats. Everyone’s vote would count. There would be no more “wasted votes” and no need for “strategic voting”.
Most of the world’s democracies already use Proportional Representation, and they have stable governments that put people first.
In BC, Pro Rep would mean a stronger voice for every region of the province, especially the North and the Interior. It would lead to higher voter turnout, more youth participation, and more balanced Legislatures that reflect the diversity of BC.
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1) Make sure you’re registered
You can vote in the referendum if you are:
- a Canadian citizen,
- 18 or older as of November 30, 2018, and
- a resident of B.C. for at least six months immediately before November 30, 2018.
Make sure your voter information is up to date by contacting Elections BC at:
2) Pledge to vote
Pledge your support for Proportional Representation: www.bcndp.ca/a-new-vote
We’ll provide you with reminders and voting details.
3) Mail in your ballot
Elections BC will start mailing the ballots on Monday, Oct. 22. Everyone should receive their ballot by Nov. 2. When your ballot arrives, follow the instructions and make sure to put the ballot in the mail as soon as possible. You may also drop off your ballot at a Service BC Centre. Elections BC must receive your ballot by Nov. 30. If you don’t receive a ballot, visit www.elections.bc.ca/ovr or call 1-800-661-8683.
Why Proportional Representation?
What are the benefits of Proportional Representation?
Proportional representation makes every vote count toward the make up of government. There are no “wasted votes”. You can vote for your first choice, without worrying about “strategic voting.”
This reduces voter cynicism, and increases participation in elections. Some of the benefits include:
- Higher voter turnout;
- More participation by young people;
- More choice for voters;
- Stronger representation for every region of the province, especially in the North and Interior;
- A more diverse Legislature that reflects the population of the province;
- More accountable government;
- Less influence by political parties and powerful interests and more influence for individual British Columbians;
- Less partisan bickering, and more cooperation between parties to get things done for people.
Because no one feels compelled to choose the “lesser of evils” when they vote, parties have to work harder to earn support from voters.
How does Proportional Representation Work?
With proportional representation, people get what they vote for.
A party that gets 40 percent of the vote gets 40 per cent of the seats. A party that gets 10 per cent of the vote gets 10 per cent of the seats.
There will be three types of Pro Rep systems to choose from in this fall’s referendum. Regardless of which system we choose, everyone would vote for a local MLA or MLAs, and everyone’s vote would count toward regional representatives to ensure a proportional Legislature.
There would be a minimum threshold of 5 per cent before a party can have representation.
Independents could be elected as local MLAs.
How does Proportional Representation affect representation for the North and the Interior?
The status quo is not working for the North and Interior. Too many regions are not represented at all in government, and too many people feel left out at election time.
Proportional Representation will give every region a stronger voice. The number of MLAs in each region will be protected, and voters will be able to choose from more parties without worrying about a “wasted vote” or “strategic voting.”
With Pro Rep, every region will have some MLAs in government, and some in opposition.
About the referendum
When will I receive my ballot?
Elections BC will start mailing ballot packages starting Oct. 22. There are too many packages to mail all at once, but everyone should receive theirs by Nov. 2.
What if I don't receive a ballot?
Voters who have not received their voting package can ask for a replacement package by visiting www.elections.bc.ca/ovr or calling 1-800-661-8683. Voters can also visit a Service BC office or Referendum Service Office starting November 5.
What if I’m not registered to vote?
If you are an eligible voter but you are not on the voters list, you can get registered and ask for a voting package up until Nov. 23.
To get registered, visit www.elections.bc.ca/ovr or call 1-800-661-8683.
What if I'm outside BC or away from my regular address?
If you are an eligible voter but will be away from BC temporarily, you can still vote in the referendum.
If you’ve purchased mail forwarding services from Canada Post during your time away, no further action is required on your part. Your voting package will be forwarded to your temporary address.
Otherwise, you can provide your temporary address to Elections BC by calling 1-800-661-8683, or emailing email@example.com with the following information:
- full name
- date of birth
- residential address in BC
- mailing address where you will be staying between late October and early November
Remember to check that you are registered with Elections BC at your permanent address by visiting www.elections.bc.ca/ovr or calling 1-800-661-8683.
What about the labour dispute at Canada Post?
Workers at Canada Post are conducting rotating strikes that are not impacting the referendum. Elections BC has announced it will extend the voting deadline if the dispute escalates to the point that the referendum is impacted.
What are the questions?
The ballot you receive in October will ask two questions:
- Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections?
- The current First Past the Post voting system
- A proportional representation voting system
- If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer?
- Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
- Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
- Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP)
(Rank in order of preference. You may choose to support one, two or all three of the systems.)
Do I have to answer both questions?
No. It’s fine to answer just the first question if you wish.
What are the three systems to choose from?
The referendum offers a choice of the different Proportional Representation systems. Whichever system you choose will be better than the status quo. The systems are:
Most ridings would be larger than they are right now and voters would elect two MLAs. (A few rural ridings would continue to have one MLA due to geography). The candidate with the most overall votes would become one of the MLAs. The second MLA would be elected based on the proportion of vote each party received across the region.
Voters would cast two ballots: one for a local MLA and one for a regional representative. The candidate with the most votes would become the local MLA. Regional representative would be based on the party’s share of the vote in each region. This is the system used in Germany, Scotland, New Zealand and several other jurisdictions.
In this system, voters in urban areas would elect multiple candidates, while voters in rural areas would continue to elect one MLA from their local riding. Voters would use the single-transferable vote for urban areas, and mixed member proportional in rural areas. In rural areas, additional MLAs would be elected at a regional level, to make sure that a party’s share of the vote in each region is reflected in the region’s election results.
“Our outdated voting system isn’t working for people from outside the big cities. With Pro Rep we keep strong local MLAs and we strengthen the voices of rural BC.”
"Pro Rep is long overdue – it increases voter turnout and encourages youth participation. It strengthens our voice when every vote counts. That’s why our student society voted to support Pro Rep, and that’s why I’m working so hard to make it happen."
Director of Wellness and Access, Camosun Student Society
"Banning big money from BC politics was an important step in giving people a stronger voice. The next step is proportional representation – a way of voting that puts people at the centre of our politics."
Human and civil rights lawyer
“It’s time to end the days when one party can get 100 per cent of the power with a minority of votes. Let’s seize this chance to bring in proportional representation – a voting system that encourages parties to work together to get things done for people.”
Thanks for joining the movement of British Columbians who want a new way to vote. Someone from our team will be in touch soon about volunteer opportunities.
Join the campaign!
We have an army of volunteers across BC fighting to win this referendum and bring a better voting system to BC. If you would like to join our team of volunteers, please sign up.