Learn about voting systems ahead of the fall 2018 referendum on how B.C. votes.


Your input is helping shape the future of our democracy

The B.C. Government has introduced legislation to hold a referendum in the fall of 2018, which will ask British Columbians to decide whether B.C. should keep its current voting system (First Past the Post) or move to a system of Proportional Representation. Countries around the world use different voting systems to elect their representatives. How a voting system is designed influences how a society is governed.

From Nov. 23, 2017 to Feb. 28, 218, British Columbians participated in a public engagement by completing an online questionnaire, reading submissions from organizations, and learning about voting systems used here and elsewhere in the world.

Your input will help shape key elements of the referendum, including how the ballot should be designed, the question(s) it should contain, and whether organizations should receive public funding to campaign for their preferred voting system.

The input is being analyzed now and will inform a report prepared by the Attorney General with recommendations for the referendum. The report will be posted on this website and presented to Cabinet. Details will then be announced, including the referendum date, campaign period, campaign rules and ballot question(s).

Thank you for participating and helping to shape the referendum on how B.C. votes.

The Building Blocks of Voting Systems

This introduction will help you learn the basics of voting systems, and how your vote translates into how you are represented in B.C.’s Legislative Assembly. Once you’re done here, learn more about each of the voting systems described on this site.

Voting Systems

First Past the Post (FPTP) or Single Member Plurality (SMP)

The current voting system in British Columbia. A voting system in which the candidate who gets the most votes in an electoral district (even if it is not the majority of the votes) wins and represents that district in the legislature as its Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).

List Proportional Representation (List PR)

A voting system in which multiple MLAs are elected in large electoral districts (regional or provincewide) and the proportion of total votes received by each political party determines the share of seats it receives in the Legislative Assembly.

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)

A voting system in which voters have one vote for their electoral district representative, and a separate vote for their preferred political party. A party’s overall share of seats in the Legislative Assembly is determined by its share of the vote for political parties.

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

A voting system in which multiple MLAs are elected in each electoral district and voters rank the candidates according to their preferences (1, 2, 3, etc.). Candidates must reach a vote threshold to be elected, and their votes may be transferred to their subsequent preferences (2nd, 3rd, etc.) in order to elect the candidates in that district.

Mixed Member Majoritarian (MMM)

A voting system very similar to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) where voters have one vote for their electoral district representative, and a separate vote for the preferred political party. In Mixed Member Majoritarian, unlike MMP, the seats allocated for the political party do not compensate for the results of the electoral district vote – instead, those party seats are allocated proportionally only amongst themselves.