VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Results of the electoral reform referendum are in: British Columbians have chosen to keep our current first-past-the-post system.
More than 42 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots, with Elections B.C. received 1,403,358 voting packages by the deadline of December 7. Of the returned ballots 61.3 per cent voted to keep the current First Past the Post, and 38.7 per cent voted against it.
British Columbians were also asked to rank three types of voting systems, with Dual Member Proportional receiving 29 per cent, Mixed Member Proportional 41 per cent, and Rural-Urban Proportional 29 per cent as their first choice of voting system.
This is the third time voters have been asked if they want to make a change to our voting system.
Interesting #prorep split in Metro Vancouver. #SurreyBC voted overwhelmingly to keep #FPTP No votes range from 63-74%. In #Vancouver, slight majority of ridings voted for change (Fairview, False Creek, Hastings, Mt. Pleasant, Point Grey & West End.) #bcpoli
— Charmaine de Silva (@char_des) December 20, 2018
We know the results on electoral reform. But #SurreyBC had the lowest voter turnout in all of BC, and those who DID vote supported the current system. Why? I spoke to @diasmega8 who explained issues like language barriers & a rushed process are all factors. @NEWS1130 #ProRep pic.twitter.com/3Gg6axODP9
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) December 21, 2018
Surrey overwhelmingly voted to support FPTP, with all ridings voting between 63 up to 73 per cent in favour of keeping the current system. Several Vancouver ridings, as well as several in Victoria and on Vancouver Island, supported changing the system to a form of proportional representation.
‘No’ and ‘yes’ pro rep camps respond to results
Bill Tieleman, co-founder of the No Pro Rep Society, says they’re elated that British Columbians have voted no for the second time in 9 years.
“We were expecting and hoping to win, but this is really an absolutely great victory. I think this puts an end to proportional representation in this province for a very long time,” he says.
He says the result of the referendum is clear.
“Proportional representation has been rejected three times. It’s been rejected overwhelmingly twice in a row,” he says. “Clearly British Columbians do not want proportional representations s our electoral system.”
Meanwhile Vote PR B.C, the group that was trying to usher in change, is disappointing with the results.
Maria Dobrinskaya, spokesperson for the group there are too many people frustrated with the current system to assume everything about it is okay the way it is, but she says she doesn’t see an appetite right now for the idea.
The timing of the vote, the politics of the referendum, and the ballot question itself, were challenges, she says.
“The status quo is familiar. You’re always the underdog when you’re advocating for change, and we certainly respect the will of the electorate, and British Columbians chose what they know,” she says.
Andrew Weaver also weighed in, noting British Columbians has sent a “clear message” about not wanting another referendum on electoral reform in the near future.
– With files from Charmaine de Silva and The Canadian Press