What Are Voting Systems?


Voting systems are important to democratic societies. Countries around the world use different voting systems to elect their political representatives. Each voting system has different features, so how a voting system is designed influences how a society will be governed. By choosing a voting system, we are shaping our democracy.

This section of the website will provide you with information about B.C.’s current voting system, commonly called First Past the Post (FPTP), as well as three of the major Proportional Representation voting systems and one semi-proportional system used elsewhere in the world.

You can find out more about the different voting systems below.

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.