Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"What If" Fantasies...

Just after the election, my local twittersphere was lit up with tweets like "if we'd've had STV, the NDP would be running the province". Other dreamers uttered statements like "NDP/Green coalition with Andrew Weaver as Environment Minister". No backup data provided; that's hard to to in 140 characters. 

But still, I wondered if this were true.

Analysis by my favourite electoral reform organization shows that this would likely not have been the case.

Thoughtful number-crunching, using the electoral boundaries that would have been in place, as well as making some very reasonable assumptions about voting patterns results in the conclusion that under STV (which is a pretty proportional system), BC would still have elected a Liberal majority government.

The Greens would've got maybe one more seat; the NDP three more and the Liberals 4 less. No Conservative seats.

Perhaps the voters in this province really do prefer a center-right government.

Another interesting point of analysis by the same group: less than 50% of eligible voters turned out to vote. That's down from the last election. Counting another way: 52% of registered voters turned out - again, less than the last election. (Not all eligible voters are registered). Voter participation continues to drop.

And then, FVBC does a nice analysis of how many voters actually have an MLA they voted for (51.1% - a very typical number under our current electoral system)...and how many voters it would take to swing the election the other way (<0.5% of the votes, in a few key swing ridings). That last number, especially, really illustrates how crappy our system is. If you don't live in one of those few swing ridings, your vote really, really doesn't matter at all.

Ah well. I only wish more people took an interest in this problem.

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