No Fair Vote

Electoral systems expert David Huntley has sent Fair Voting British Columbia executive members a petition demanding they apologize and resign. This, after British Columbians voted overwhelming on May 12 against the single-transferable vote system. At issue: according to the petition, the executive - which was responsible for organizing the campaign in favour of that system - ignored "clear professional advice" which would have given former citizens' assembly on electoral reform members a leading role on the yes side. The petition, which also criticizes Fair Voting British Columbia for not responding to "misleading information provided by no-stv" - has been signed ten individuals. Among them is Craig Henschel - one of the members of the assembly that recommended British Columbians adopt BC-STV. The following is a complete copy, which was exclusively obtained by Public Eye.

To: The Directors of Fair Voting British Columbia
May 23, 2009

We, the undersigned, call on the Fair Voting BC executive to issue a formal public apology to:

- those who were members of the BC Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
- the Citizens of British Columbia
- the Citizens of Canada

Then all the members of the FVBC board should resign.

This should be done forthwith, and the apology should be wholehearted.

The wording of the formal apology from the directors should include:

- that they had received clear professional advice that "The ONLY way this kind of reform can pass in Canada is when it is proposed by experts who are not part of the usual political world", in this case the BC Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform.
- that the professional advice contained more valuable information
- that they chose to ignore all this advice
- what the campaign strategy was and why they used it
- that they chose not to respond to the misleading information provided by no-stv.

- that the referendum was ultimately about which side had the better campaign and not about the merits of BC-STV. The public needs to know that it is the no-stv system that was rejected, not the true BC-STV.

- BC-STV as recommended overwhelmingly by the BC Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform is the best electoral system for British Columbia

Name

David Huntley
Paul Holden
Craig Henschel
Angela Smailes
Richard Wong
Ivy Li
Darcy Suehn
Gwenn Suehn
Liz Cramb
Ha Duck Cho

6 Comments

Sean,

I'm not sure why the vote was "overwhelmingly" against the STV when a few points more is enough to elect a majority. By this logic the people voted "overwhelmingly" against the current and most governments.

We have the absurdity of needing a majority to change the system but a minority to run it.

My god these people are wing nuts. Thank heaven this issue is now deader than dead.

Why the government ran a referendum but refused to send out necessary information to the voters to fully explain the new system?

Why the politicians gave the No-side and the Yes-side equal amount of money, knowing full well that the Yes-side would have to take up the burden of explaining what BC-STV is about? They knew that the Yes-side would need to spend lots of money and time in education, while the NO-side could spend all the ½ million in attack ads to distort and to confuse.

Why it is easier to break up the country then to change the way how politicians are elected?
It requires only 50% + 1 for Quebec to separate, yet it requires 60% to change BC’s election system.

The truth seems to be pretty obvious: The referendum was designed for BC-STV to fail! Not just to fail, but to fail miserably.

The political establishment was afraid of STV – an electoral system favors voters over politicians. They were so afraid that they wanted to kill it once and for all.

Another piece of the puzzles is: Why the decision makers of the Yes-campaign failed to follow expert advice? Was it death by natural causes or death by design?

If the members of Fair Voting BC want to trash their executive that's their right - democratically of course!

But the folks signing this letter had better put down the Kool-Aid for awhile and give up the conspiracy theories - the fix was NOT in for STV - the fact that the BC government even gave it a second chance - against the wishes of NO STV - was unfair. STV failed in 2005 according to the rules and with every advantage afforded to it.

In 2009 the pro-STV side had massive funding, far more than NO STV, 5000 volunteers and every opportunity to get it's message out. The fact is that voters don't like STV and no amount of Citizens Assembly handwringing will change that.

The fact that NO STV featured the Assembly's own video explaining STV on the front page of our own website because it was so effective in convincing people to vote NO should be a telltale sign!

"...the best policy in war is to thwart the enemy's strategy.”
~ Sunzi: The Art of War ~

How do you ‘thwart the enemy’s strategy’ if you have 4 years to do so?

Some effective and common methods:
1) Engineer ‘incompetence’ in key positions in your enemy
2) Facilitate disagreements among their leaders
3) Provide bad advice to them through their ‘allies’ and ‘friends’

These methods are like ice bullets – kill without leaving any trace.

Bill,

The CA video, used by both the yes and no side, isn't perfect. It has a few small flaws and wasn't made to completely explain STV, but simply the vote counting. Saying that it fails to explain STV because STV is too complex to explain is ridiculous.

You can present the video with a spun up story to say "No STV", but you could likely spin it up to sell cars as well.

The fact is that BC voters do like STV. They came up with it. There is a certain percentage of people people (about 5-10% in my experience) who actually dislike STV because they want government to wield an iron first. The rest actual prefer a system that provides better voter choice and proportional Representation.

BC voters like BC-STV. Most of the people who voted against it did so because they didn't understand it or got scared. I actual had people say/yell at me during the campaign; "No way I'm voting for that, I'm not a communist!", "No way, I don't want my vote to get transfered to Kelowna.", "I'm not supporting that, my vote could get transfered to someone I didn't vote for."

To some degree, this points to the lack oof information provided by the Government and the Yes campaign. But it also points to some pretty active smearing. Without information, voters would have been confused, they would not have thought that there votes could jump from Vancouver to Kelowna.

Do BC voters really dislike STV? Lets find out. You and I will each explain a system for 10 or 20 minutes to a group of people who know nothing. Then ask them to decide. I don't care if you pitch MMP or FPTP. I already know that no that only 10% will choose FPTP. If you pitch MMP you might have a chance.

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